While technology has undoubtedly made the lives of billions of people easier, it has some downsides too. One of the biggest is issues with cybersecurity that cause struggles for businesses around the world on a daily basis. Recent cybercrime statistics point to a boom in breached and hacked data, affecting IoT devices and smartphones, one of which could very well be your own.
To make matters worse, most businesses not only have very poor cybersecurity practices in place but also regularly deal with unprotected data, making it ideal for hackers to help themselves to whatever they need. That’s why cybercrime prevention and cybersecurity awareness need to become a top priority. To further demonstrate the urgency of this issue, we’ve compiled a list of cyber attacks statistics that you can use to help your business stay safe and on top of the many cybersecurity risks out there. Here’s what’s cooking.
Cybercrime Statistics (Editor’s Pick)
- Polymorphic malware accounted for 93% of all observed malware in 2018.
- More than 30% of surveyed organizations do not have a cybersecurity budget.
- Cryptojacking increased by 629% between the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
- More than 24,000 mobile apps with suspected malicious software are blocked every day.
- Ransomware statistics show that 18.2% of such attacks occur in the United States.
- Organizations lose in excess of $2.6 million on average each year as a result of malware attacks.
- The United States is expected to be the target of approximately half of all data breaches in the world by 2023.
- Human error is the cause of more than 95% of all cybersecurity breaches.
1. Cybercrime against individuals typically targets seniors over the age of 60.
Scams involving senior citizens are becoming increasingly frequent and lead to significant losses, especially on an annual basis. In 2018, a little under $650 million in losses were reported by 62,058 victims aged 60 or over. At the same time, data breach statistics show that the situation was no better for those aged 50-59 in the same year: just shy of $495 million in losses were reported by 48,642 citizens worldwide. And these are only the reported losses, meaning the actual number may very well be much higher than the $1.14 billion in a single year.
(The SSL Store)
2. End-user devices are at the highest risk of security threats and breaches.
Cyber breach statistics, courtesy of the AT&T Cybersecurity Report 2018, suggest that end-user devices are the most troublesome. Laptops and desktop computers top the list with 70% vulnerability. Smartphones are the runner-up with 61%, with tablets claiming the third spot with 53%. Servers and server rooms share the fourth place on the list with wireless access points (both at 50%), and last on the list are switches and routers at 47%. Check out some cyber security statistics for more information.
3. By 2021, the annual global cost of cybercrime will top $6 trillion.
Cybercrime statistics also reveal devastating financial repercussions. Not only are businesses crippled by spending heaps of money to protect their data from cybercriminals, but they also fork out funds to repair the losses caused by the theft. It comes as no surprise, then, that cybercrime is actually more profitable than the illegal drug trade. The 2017 Cybersecurity Ventures report suggests that the annual global cost of cybercrime will top $6 trillion in 2021. To put that into perspective, it will overtake the cost of natural disasters.
4. Polymorphic malware accounted for 93% of observed malware in 2018.
Online crime statistics can be very worrying to see in black in white, but here’s one that is truly horrific: polymorphic malware accounted for 93% of all malware attacks observed in 2018, according to the 2019 Webroot Threat Report. This means that malware has the ability to constantly change its code to avoid detection. If you’ve seen Terminator 2, think of this type of malware as if it were the liquid metal T-1000: it can make itself look like virtually anyone and anything. Sounds truly unsettling, doesn’t it?
5. More than 24,000 mobile apps with suspected malicious software are blocked every day.
Cybercrime statistics and trends suggest that mobile apps are a big cause for concern. Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report shows that more than 24,000 mobile apps with suspected malicious software are blocked every day; moreover, the main targets among them seem to be lifestyle apps. This is worrisome since these apps reveal device location, as well as other highly sensitive information like phone numbers. These apps represent an open invitation for cybercriminals to wreak havoc on users as it is virtually impossible to check and monitor each one.
6. More than 500 million personal records fell victim to hacker theft in 2018.
Cybercrime statistics worldwide further indicate that 500+ billion personal records found their way into the hands of hackers around the globe in 2018. Compared to the same period in 2017, this represents an increase of 126%. A report by Cybersecurity Ventures meanwhile shows that a cumulative 3.8 million records were stolen since 2013 in everyday breaches. Once you crunch the numbers, that amounts to an average of 44 records every second of every day.
7. Illegal cyber activities involving Bitcoin generate a total of $76 billion.
A study on internet crime statistics by the University of Sydney reveals that Bitcoin is involved in approximately $76 billion of illegal activities in one form or another. Many often cite the quick transfer, anonymity, and the lack of regulation as the biggest advantages of cryptocurrencies. At the same time, Bitcoin’s anonymity makes the cryptocurrency perfect for illegal activities and internet fraud, as cybercrime increase statistics show.
8. 18.2% of all ransomware attacks occur in the United States.
Ransomware is a term used to describe a situation where a specific device like a computer is targeted, after which its system (and the data on it) are encrypted and held hostage. The target usually has to pay up if they want the data back, making this a fairly popular type of attack. Cyber threat statistics show that these types of attacks are more frequent in countries whose population is more commonly connected to the internet. That’s why it comes as no surprise that 18.2% of all ransomware attacks take place in the United States.
9. More than 30% of surveyed organizations do not have a cybersecurity budget.
Cybersecurity defenses still don’t seem to be a priority for a majority of businesses and organizations. According to the 2019 Security Threats and Trends Report by KnowBe4 on computer security statistics, more than 30% of surveyed organizations still only have an annual IT capital expenditure budget, instead of having a separate cybersecurity budget.
(The SSL Store)
10. The overwhelming majority of malware (as high as 92.4%) spreads through email.
Eye-opening as it may be that email is the top carrier of malware, we’ve dug even deeper into hacking statistics to learn that a spear-phishing email was responsible for initiating 91% of cyberattacks. Additionally, environments that use secure email gateways were home to 90% of verified phishing emails, courtesy of a report by Cofense. Microsoft cloud services didn’t fare any better, either; Sharepoint hosted 55% of payloads, while One Drive hosted 21% of more than 9,000 phishing analyzed.
11. Organizations lose in excess of $2.6 million on average each year as a result of malware attacks.
Cybercrime malware statistics reveal that malware continues to inflict the most financial damage to organizations around the world, despite being only one of many forms of cybercrime. Organizations lost more than $2.6 million as a result of malware attacks in 2018. Malware attacks in 2017 amounted to $2.4 million, pointing to a slight increase.
12. Cryptojacking increased by 629% between the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
Cryptojacking is a term used to describe the process where cybercriminals spread malware that infects their victims’ computers, for the purpose of using the processing power to mine for Monero, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Cyber theft statistics reveal that cryptojacking has proven less risky, simpler and more profitable for cybercriminals; so much so, that there were only 400,000 recorded samples of it in Q4 of 2017, and as many as 2.9 million in Q1 2018. The ENISA Threat Landscape Report 2018 shows that cryptominers are estimated to have sourced more than $2.5 billion for their users.
13. On average, it takes longer than 6 months for an organization to notice a data breach.
Financial cybercrime statistics reveal that it takes organizations a terrifyingly long amount of time to discover that they’ve been hacked. There are various numbers floating around, but most studies agree that most businesses take up to 197 days to notice a data breach. The average for finance firms meanwhile is 98 days. This practically means that the hackers can help themselves to virtually any information and it will be a while before you even notice they’ve paid you a visit.
14. Human error is the cause of more than 95% of all cybersecurity breaches.
Cyber attacks statistics also reveal that it is human error that causes more than 95% of all breaches. Hackers and cybercriminals prey on the weakest link within your organization to gain access to your sensitive and confidential information. Nine times out of 10, this weakest link has absolutely nothing to do with your IT department, so don’t be too quick to judge them if an employee who’s not too computer-savvy clicks on the wrong spam email.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a cyber criminal?
There are many definitions of cybercriminals. The term can be used to describe either an individual or an entire team of people. Generally, they perform malicious activities on networks or digital systems by using technology. Most of the time, they do this to generate a profit by stealing personal data or sensitive company information.
2. Which country has the highest cyber crime rate?
Without a doubt, the country with the highest cybercrime rate is the United States. The US has a growing number of security threats each year as a result of the wide adoption of the internet. Some of the terrifying stats on cybercrime rates in the US include: there’s a hacker attack every 39 seconds somewhere in the country, security threats have exposed close to 450 million records in the US to date, it takes an average of 69 days to resolve a malicious insider attack, and so on. But, perhaps the most ominous-sounding statistic is that the US is expected to be the target of approximately half of all data breaches in the world by 2023.
3. Who are the main victims of cybercrime?
Cybercriminals don’t discriminate. They prey on businesses, organizations, and individuals alike, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, occupation, profession, industry, seniority, market share and the like. The FBI said in its 2018 Internet Crime Report that they receive close to 300,000 complaints yearly, on average, each associated with some form of cybercrime. When you do the math, that equals approximately 900 complaints on average per day.
4. Why is cybercrime hard to track?
You’d think that thanks to all of the wonders of modern technology, law enforcement agencies should have no trouble keeping up with cybercriminals. More often than not, that’s not the case for a number of reasons: it’s difficult (remember the polymorphic malware designed to change its own code to avoid detection) and it’s overwhelming (there are much more hackers out there than law enforcement agencies). But mostly, computer crime stats suggest what makes cybercrime difficult to track are the sense that law enforcement won’t be able to help, and the embarrassment of the victims. In a way, victims are often the ones that complicate the process (companies looking to avoid public ridicule, or maintain their reputation, as well as individuals who don’t trust law enforcement to tackle the cybercrime problem effectively).
While computers and digital technologies remain the pillars of both the modern economy and society, cybercrime statistics exist as a reminder that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The future promises to see this battle between cyber criminals and law enforcement continue. What you can do for yourself and your organization is to be aware of the risks, educate your employees, invest in protection against vulnerabilities and try to be up-to-date on the latest technological developments. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.