New Delhi: The global cost of cybercrime has been increasing rapidly, eclipsing some of the largest economies of the world, including India’s, according to a new report by US-based firm Cybersecurity Ventures.
The report said cybercrimes are likely to become more profitable than trading in major illegal drugs by 2025, with the costs expected to reach $10.5 trillion annually.
“Cybersecurity Ventures expects global cybercrime costs to grow by 15 per cent per year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion in 2015,” the report said.
“If it were measured as a country, then cybercrime — which is predicted to inflict damages totaling $6 trillion globally in 2021 — would be the world’s third-largest economy after the US and China.”
Comparison with Indian economy
The Indian economy, in comparison, is currently ranked fifth. India’s GDP was estimated to be just under $3 trillion in 2019, indicating that global cybercrime costs had surpassed the size of the Indian economy a few years ago.
The report added that cybercrime costs include “damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm”.
The report also said that cybercrime costs are expected to grow faster (at 15 per cent) than India’s economy every year. The International Monetary Fund had said in October that India’s economy is expected to contract by 10.3 per cent this year, but will grow at 8.8 per cent in 2021. Even if the 8.8 per cent growth rate that India is expected to achieve is the fastest among emerging and developing economies — beating China’s estimated growth of 8.2 per cent — it is still far behind the damages that cybercrime is likely to incur on the world.
Cybercrime costs greater than damage from natural disasters
The Cybersecurity Ventures report further said that the estimated cybercrime costs of $10.5 trillion a year are larger than the “damage inflicted from natural disasters” globally.
The prediction in the report has been made by looking at yearly growth in cybercrime, and the “dramatic increase in hostile nation-state sponsored and organised crime gang hacking activities”. It has also factored in how a large number of connected devices and users will be online by 2025, that only increases the “cyberattack surface” for hackers.