Each year, cyber crimes impact millions of people around the world. Technology has become so sophisticated that cyber criminals can easily access personal information including social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, bank accounts, medical records, and tax information. Everyone who owns a computer is vulnerable to a cyber attack by a sophisticated hacker looking to steal information and make money off innocent victims.
Cyber crime operations are low-risk, low-investment opportunities that generate very large profits. Large operations function like corporations and small operations function like owner-operated businesses. Large operations can generate profits of more than $1 billion, while smaller operations typically generate profits up to $75K. Individual cyber criminals can generate up to $500K in annual profits by selling illegal streaming devices. Platform models for cyber crimes are comparable to those of major companies like Facebook, Google, and YouTube that make money by collecting data and providing services to customers.
According to law enforcement and financial statistics, cyber crimes generated a hefty $1.5 trillion dollar profit in 2018. If cyber crime was a country, it would be generating the world’s 13th largest gross domestic product. Statistics show that 50 percent of cyber crimes are generated in online markets where computers play a direct role in profits. The 2018 $1.5 trillion profit is attributed to the following breakdown:
* Online illegal markets – $860 billion
* Identity theft – $500 billion
* Data trades – $160 billion
* Crime-related software – $1.6 billion
* Various Ransomware – $1 billion or more
These figures involve computed-related theft scams, but don’t account for millions of dollars in illegal profits generated from phone scams and other types of mass communication scams. In 2016, such scams generated about $25 million in the United States, $75 million in Australia, and $4.9 billion in the United Kingdom.
Since cyber crimes affect millions of people each year, people should take diligent actions to protect their personal information with ca endevor training. Illegal online marketing scams and identity theft can create major financial problems and negative lifestyle changes for unsuspecting victims, especially elderly victims who have no way to rebuild their financial losses.