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Cybercrime worth $1.5 trillion a year: Thales report

Cybercrime worth $1.5 trillion a year: Thales report

Cybercrime now worth 2.8 times more than the illegal drugs trade

With revenues estimated up to $1.5 trillion a year – meaning 1.5 times more income (as an annual average) than counterfeiting, and 2.8 times more than the illegal drugs trade –cybercrime is one the most dangerous threats today facing companies, organisations and institutions.

In the cybercrime edition of its CyberThreat Handbook, Thales lays bare the threats posed by a global network of well-organised cybercriminals.

Thales says 60 per cent of these huge revenues come from illegal online markets, 30 per cent from the theft of intellectual property and trade secrets and only 0.07 per cent from ransomware which however does the most damage.

Read: Brand exploitation by cyber criminals raises alarm in UAE, Saudi

Interactions and permanent movements unite organised cybercrime and bring it to life, the report says. By interacting as a network of cybercrime groups, cybercriminals can function increasingly effectively with more significant damage and one same goal: the constant quest to improve their reputation and grow their financial and technical resources. These specificities make it very difficult to deeply understand cybercrime and develop appropriate tools.

Various groups of the most technically adept cyber attackers, with highly sophisticated compromise strategies and substantial financial resources, head this well-established organisation. These are the “Big Game Hunters”, whose tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and technical infrastructure are similar to certain state-sponsored hacking groups. They attack specific targets, such as political institutions and major companies, using ransomware to demand large sums.

To achieve their objectives, cybercriminals use a combination of technical expertise and the panic that they sow in companies and institutions. Panic can have a devastating impact in terms of the consequences of an attack especially in ransomware cases where victims rush to pay off attackers.

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