Study: Cybercrime Costing Consumers, Corporations, & Governments Billions

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A new study released Tuesday shows cybercrime is a booming business for organized crime groups all over the world. The study, conducted by IDC and the National University of Singapore (NUS), reveals that businesses worldwide will spend nearly $500 billion in 2014 to deal with the problems caused by malware on pirated software. Individual consumers, meanwhile, are expected to spend $25 billion and waste 1.2 billion hours this year because of security threats and costly computer fixes.

Forensic analysis has uncovered that of 203 computers purchased in 11 countries as “new” (but actually loaded with pirated software), 61 percent were infected with dangerous malware. Most of the infected computers had more than one malware threat on them, and any one threat could infect multiple files.

Sixty percent of consumers surveyed say their greatest fear from infected software is the loss of data, files or personal information, followed by unauthorized Internet transactions (51 percent) and hijacking of email, social networking and bank accounts (50 percent). 43 percent of these same consumers admitted they do not install security updates, making them sitting ducks for cybercriminals.

The study also revealed that enterprises are particularly hard hit by malware introduced via pirated software. In 2014, businesses will spend $127 billion dealing with security issues and $364 billion dealing with data breaches, and almost two-thirds of these losses, or $315 billion, will be the result of organized crime – malware launched by financially motivated criminals. As for governments, they could lose more than $50 billion dealing with the costs associated with malware on pirated software in 2014. Government officials surveyed by IDC say their greatest concern from infected software is the loss of business trade secrets or competitive information (59 percent), followed by unauthorized access to confidential government information (55 percent) and the impact of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure (55 percent).

Source: Microsoft on the Issues

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Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin