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The cybercrime has turned from a business to a real economy

The “Into the Web of Profit” study: the cybercrime has become a real economy, generating $ 1,5 trillions revenues every year

The cybercrime has turned from a business to a real economy. It has been established by the study “Into the Web of Profit” by University of Surrey for Bromium, reported by ZDNet. The paper underlines that cyber crime generates revenues for $ 1,5 Trillions every year. The phenomenon “is became an economy, not a business; a structure functioning as a literal ‘Web of Profit’ – a hyper-connected range of economic agents, economic relationships and other factors now capable of generating, supporting and maintaining criminal revenues at unprecedented scale”, is reported in the document. And now “become a kind of mirror image of contemporary capitalism” complete with disruptive business models.

The elements that contribute to the revenues of cybercrime are from the sale of drugs and illegal goods online to cyber espionage, passing through malware and ransomware

In this scenario, illegal online markets, selling items like drugs, illegal pharmaceuticals and counterfeit goods counting for about half of the total revenue – $860 billion. Pilfering of trade secrets and IP theft is said to account for just over a third of cybercriminal revenue, with a value of $500 billion. However, there’s still plenty of revenue being generated by lower level cybercrime. ZDNet reports that “the use and sale of stolen data as an object of commerce is described as a ‘vibrant part of the cyber criminals economy’ and accounts for 11% ($160 billion) of total revenues. While the revenues are lower than selling items or trade secrets, it’s a lower risk activity and thus more attractive to some than original theft. The likes of cybercrime-as-a-service and malware distribution bring in some of the lowest revenues of the criminal economy – accounting for $1.6 billion in revenue – but represent high yield options for individual cybercriminals. Ransomware also falls into this model, accounting for $1 billion in revenue in its own right, and something individuals can easily profit from”.

Ransomware is one of the most lucrative cybercrimes, but in the case of individual attacks. The overall revenues are lower than other categories

“Certainly, the claim that ransomware represents one of the most lucrative cybercrimes may hold in the case of individual attacks – the “Into the Web of Profit” study reports -, but the overall revenues remain low in comparison to other categories”.

A video that introduces the “Into the Web of Profit” study

The Bromium page on the report

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