Cybercriminals make, launder, spend, and reinvest more than 1.5 trillion dollars every year, according to the new study. If cybercriminals had a country, this country would have the 13th highest GDP in the world. Hackers make 1.5 trillion dollars every year which is almost as much as the GDP of Russia.
In the nine months of study, it was found out how the economy of cybercrime sustains itself and overlaps with the legitimate economy.
The data for this report was gathered from global companies, security workers infiltrated in the Dark Web, international police forces, and cybercriminals.
Cybercriminal platform is similar to the platform capitalism model in which data is the commodity. This platform turns malware into a product, simplifies the purchase of illicit tools and services, and enables broader criminal activities including drug production, human trafficking, and terrorism.
Thanks to this cybercriminal underworld 620 new synthetic drug types have appeared on the market since 2005. Many of them are created in China or India, purchased online, and sent to Europe in bulk.
There are many hacker groups around the world so don’t let your guard down, installing an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac, depending on which OS your device is running, represents a must nowadays. Besides this, every company must hire a cybersecurity firm that will lunch, on purpose, various attacks on institution’s network to reveal its flaws.
This kind of deliberate attacks is done through specialized cybersecurity tests like penetration test and ethical hacking tests.
The 1.5 trillion dollars cybercriminal profit, from each year, is divided this way $860 billion in illicit online markets, $500 billion in the theft of trade secrets and intellectual property, $160 billion in data trading, $1.6 billion in crimeware-as-a-service, and $1 billion in ransomware. This kind of profits are unbelievable, cybercriminal activity generates more revenue than legitimate companies, for example, large multi-national operations can earn more than $1 billion, and smaller ones typically make between $30k-$50K every year.
Cybercriminals take data and competitive advantages from real companies and lure them to accomplish their goals. Very concerning is the fact that many of these legitimate companies don’t know their role in furthering cybercrime.
Companies like Facebook and Uber are rich with data, making them a prime target for attackers seeking user information and intellectual property. They also give hackers a platform to sell illicit goods and services and set up fake shops to launder money or connect buyers and sellers.
The owners of cybercrime platforms are the most significant earners. Each hacker might only make $30K per year; however, managers can earn up to $2M per job with as few as 50 stolen credit cards. They aren’t committing a crime but they are selling it, and their criminal platforms have evolved to offer services, descriptions, and technical support for their buyers.
Let’s look at some of the numbers behind these earnings. A zero-day Adobe exploit can go for up to $30K while a zero-day iOS exploit costs $250K. Malware exploit kits cost about $200-600 per exploit; a blackhole exploit kit costs $700 to lease for a month or $1,500 for a full year. Custom spyware costs $200, an SMS-spoofing service runs $20 per month, and a “hacker for hire” will charge about $200 for a minor hack. A huge part of the profit is reinvested in new criminal ventures. Cybercriminals put about 20% of their revenues into additional crime, indicating up to $300B is used to drive illegal activity.
The presence of antivirus gives the only protection against hackers for Windows or antivirus for Mac in every system depending on which OS it is running on every device that you own. Also remember that tests like penetration test and ethical hacking tests are now available for any company that wants to tighten their security and if your business exists 100% online, we recommend the use of cyber-secured web hosting services.