Access and Feeds

CyberSecurity: Businesses Powering the Criminal Economy Mirror LegitimateTechnology Businesses

By Dick Weisinger

A $1.5 trillion economy is controlled by cybercrime, according to a report by Bromium, Into the Web of Profit. The breakdown of illicit money derived from cybercrime activities is as follows:

  • $860 billion – online illegal drugs and counterfeit goods
  • $500 billion – theft of IP and trade secrets
  • $160 billion – sale of credit/debit card, bank login stolen data

Cryptocurrencies are the preferred method for moving money illegally.  Bitcoin had been the preferred currency, but more recently, lesser known currencies like Monero have become more popular because they have even greater anonymity built into them.

Dr Michael McGuire, senior criminology lecturer at the University of Surrey, said that “there are large organizations in the burgeoning cybercrime economy that very closely match the structures and business plans of companies like Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. These platform owners act more like service providers than criminals; they don’t commit the crimes directly but enable and profit from cybercrime and are helping to create a world where cybercrime is a permanent state.”

McGuire said that cybercrime is more than just a business. “It’s much, much more than that. It’s like an economy which mirrors the legitimate economy. Increasingly, what we’re seeing is the legitimate economy feeding off the cybercrime economy.”

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