A new study of nearly 12,000 Australians finds that a third of the adult population has experienced pure cybercrime in their lifetime, with 14% reporting such disruption to network systems in the past 12 months.
With all forms of cybercrime already costing trillions each year globally, experts from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) and Flinders University say the crimes involved significant levels of personal harm including direct losses as well as the high cost of preventing future attacks.
A pre-COVID-19 snapshot of the cost of ‘pure cybercrime’ in 2019 finds an approximate total economic damage of $3.5 billion – including $1.4 billion spent on prevention costs, $1.9 billion lost directly to victims, and $597 million It was spent on dealing with the consequences of abuse.
With only about $389 million recovered by victims – who have barely paid the cost of dealing with the accidents – the survey estimated that about 2.8 million Australians were injured over the past year and that nearly 6.7 million Australian adults could have been victims at any time in the past.
Only a small percentage of financial losses are recovered by the victims.
“Pure cybercrime” activities include hacking, spreading viruses and other malware, and distributing denial of service attacks. And while this includes crimes against devices and networks, it is estimated that other forms of online-enabled identity crime cost Australian government agencies, individuals, and individuals an additional $3 billion annually.
Says Russell Smith, a professor at Flinders University, who also warned of a potential rise in online fraud as a result of the opportunities for dishonesty caused by the COVID-19 virus linked to the COVID-19 economic disruptions.
“In light of current information, with the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals, it is clear that the need for additional spending on prevention will need to increase.
“Similarly, it is necessary to assess the financial harms associated with cybercrime so that resources for prevention and response activities can be targeted more effectively, and a baseline can be developed to measure the impact of future policy responses,” says Professor Smith.
A 2018-2019 investigation into identity crime (Smith & Franks 2020) found that the $3.1 billion cost to Commonwealth entities, state and territory agencies (including the police), individuals and businesses—most, but not all, of them—was the result of internet-enabled identity crime.
Internet-enabled crimes use technology to facilitate the commission of traditional crimes such as identity theft, fraud, stalking and harassment while reducing the risk of detection.
“Cybercrime is a borderless and ever-evolving group of crime that can threaten individuals, businesses, government and national security,” says lead author on the new AIC publication, Mr. Coen Teunissen.
“This study represents the first large-scale Australian study of the prevalence of pure cybercrime and financial harm.
“Importantly, this is a conservative estimate, as many victims were unable to report how much they lost or how much they spent dealing with the consequences of cybercrime. This also excludes the cost to companies and government of pure cybercrime,” Mr. Teunissen says.
Evidence suggests that the US loses hundreds of billions to cybercrime, possibly as much as 1% to 4% of GDP annually.
Coen Teunissen et al, Estimating the cost of pure cybercrime for Australian individuals, (2021). DOI: 10.52922/sb78269 Coen Teunissen et al, Estimating the cost of pure cybercrime for Australian individuals, (2021). DOI: 10.52922 / sb78269
Michael Levy et al., Fraud and its relationship to epidemics and economic crises: from the Spanish flu to COVID-19, (2021). DOI: 10.52922 / rr78115
Russell Smith et al, Calculating the costs of identity crime and abuse in Australia, 2018-19, (2021). DOI: 10.52922 / sr04756
Presented by Flinders University
the quote: Warning of Increase in Cybercrime During the Pandemic (2021, July 21) Retrieved on July 22, 2021 from https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-cybercrime-pandemic.html
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