Cybercrime is very costly in the US, both to individuals and businesses. But exactly how costly, though?
That’s what I set out to discover in this article.
Statista gives us a precise measurement of the financial damages incurred during the 2001-2022 period in the US.
Here it is:
|Year||Financial Losses||% Change from Previous Period|
From 2001 to 2022 (period of 21 years), the financial losses associated with cybercrime have increased by 57765%, from 17.8 million to 10.3 billion.
It’s almost unbelievable to read about it, let alone understand the magnitude of this phenomenon.
In the last four years alone (2018-2022), cybercrime costs have skyrocketed from $2.7 billion to $10.3 billion, a 268% increase.
There seems to be no plateau to how costly cybercrime becomes over the years. That’s not a surprise, though…
There are several reasons why cybercrime-related financial losses keep increasing with each passing year:
And there’s no doubt that with each passing year, there are more profits to be made from cybercrime.
There is more valuable data to be stolen, more businesses to hack, and more money to be made.
A recent FBI report reveals that 847,376 internet crime complains were filed in 2021, the most prominent ones being phishing scams, personal data breaches, and non-payment/non-delivery scams.
According to a study by AtlasVPN, cybercriminals make around $1.5 trillion annually from cybercrime. That’s three times what Walmart makes per year.
In fact, $1.5 trillion is more than the revenue of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Tesla combined for 2019 ($761 billion).
According to our Dark Web Price Index:
And this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding data theft.
Imagine how much valuable corporate info is sold online: technology patents, security vulnerabilities, private data on business partners, sensitive info about executives, etc.
According to the Commerce Institute, around 5 million new businesses were created in 2022. On average, 4.4 million businesses are created each year.
More businesses means there are more targets for hackers because there’s more data to be stolen and sold.
It’s not a recent phenomenon but it has evolved significantly in these past years.
Now, anyone can engage in cybercrime because you no longer need to create your own malware.
You can buy it as-is and use social engineering to infect an individual’s device or a server network. Steal the data, sell it, profit.
Objectively speaking, it’s one of the most profitable (illegal) things you can do. And it’s also fairly easy to accomplish.
According to the same AtlasVPN report, cybercrime-as-a-service brings around $1.6 billion per year.
And according to our Dark Web Price Index:
This last one hits hard. For only $10, you can order a full-scale DDoS attack on an unprotected site and stop their operations for one hour.
A pint of beer costs $7.52 in New York, just to make a point.
As technology advances, so too does cybercrime. Think about it – every technology can be exploited. More technologies lead to more end-points to exploit.
This applies to software, websites, platforms, and even entire ecosystems like the blockchain.
Here are a few emerging cybercrime methods that have appeared recently due to advancements in technology:
Here are just three emerging cybercrime methods that are making victims as we speak. Two are brand-new while the last one is constantly evolving and keeping up with the technological advancement.
More data was generated in 2023 alone than in the 2019-2021 period (approximately). Let me illustrate this through a data chart:
|Year||Data Generated||Change from Previous Period|
|2011||5 zettabytes||+150% / 3 zettabytes|
|2012||6.5 zettabytes||+30% / 1.5 zettabytes|
|2013||9 zettabytes||+38.46% / 2.5 zettabytes|
|2014||12.5 zettabytes||+38.89% / 3.5 zettabytes|
|2015||15.5 zettabytes||+24% / 3 zettabytes|
|2016||18 zettabytes||+16.13% / 2.5 zettabytes|
|2017||26 zettabytes||+44.44% / 8 zettabytes|
|2018||33 zettabytes||+26.92% / 7 zettabytes|
|2019||41 zettabytes||+24.24% / 8 zettabytes|
|2020||64.2 zettabytes||+55.59% / 23.2 zettabytes|
|2021||79 zettabytes||+23.05% / 14.8 zettabytes|
|2022||97 zettabytes||+22.78% / 18 zettabytes|
|2023||120 zettabytes||+23.71% / 23 zettabytes|
|2024||147 zettabytes||+22.5% / 27 zettabytes|
|2025||181 zettabytes||+23.13% / 34 zettabytes|
In 2022, 97 zettabytes of data were generated online. 1 zettabyte is equal to 1 trillion gigabytes or 100 million terabytes.
Windows 10, the most used computer operating system, only takes around 15 gigabytes of storage space.
That’s around 0.00000000149% of 1 zettabyte and 0.0000000000154% of 97 zettabytes.
It’s safe to say that a lot of data was generated in 2022 alone. With each passing year, more data is created every day.
The point I’m making is that there’s more data available to steal or exploit. It’s to be expected that cybercrime keeps growing exponentially.
We have all the reasons to assume that cybercrime will continue growing unchecked, causing more and more victims.
That’s because you can’t stop the flow of data generation and information. You also can’t stop people from creating businesses, software, or new technologies.
Cybercrime is here to stay in the US. It’s the other side of the coin in the technology niche.
What we can do is prevent and fight against cybercrime though:
No one has the right to our personal data. And we, as the consumers, have all the rights to our anonymity and data privacy.
We should do our best to maintain our privacy intact, protect our online identities efficiently, and practice common sense when going online.
Cybersecurity Ventures has said in the past year that cybercrime costs are estimated to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025.
There’s no stopping it unless we raise our awareness about online security and be more careful with our data!
Statista – Annual Amount of Monetary Damage Caused by Reported Cybercrime in the United States from 2001 to 2022
AtlasVPN – Cybercrime Annual Revenue is 3 Times Bigger than Walmart’s
GOVTech – Cyber Crime Is More Costly Than Ever – What Can Be Done?
Identity IQ – How Cybercriminals Profit from a Data Breach
PrivacyAffairs – Dark Web Price Index 2023
Commerce Institute – How Many New Businesses Are Started Each Year? Data Reveals the Answer
Privacy Affairs – Cybersecurity Deep Dive: What Is Cybercrime-as-a-Service?
Privacy Affairs – Cybersecurity Deep Dive: Everything About DDoS Attacks
Privacy Affairs – Have Malware Attacks Become More Common?
Privacy Affairs – The Art of Cyber Deception: Social Engineering in Cybersecurity
Exploding Topics – Amount of Data Created Daily (2023)
Cybersecurity Ventures – Cybercrime to Cost the World $10.5 Trillion Annually By 2025