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Digital Age And The Increase in Cyber Crime

Numerous studies show that cyber crime is on the rise, and both individuals and businesses that are unprepared for it are paying the price. Of course, businesses in particular tend to have the most to lose when it comes to finances. In fact, US businesses lose over $525 million per year as a result of cyber crime. If you’re still not sure how much of a problem cyber crime is for businesses and individuals, take a look at the numbers related to the most common types of crimes involving technology.

Common Types of Cyber Crime

Hacking: This occurs when a cyber criminal breaks into an individual’s or a company’s computer to access personal information. This data could include everything from credit card numbers and Social Security numbers to bank account information and trade secrets. In 2014, 47% of Americans said they had been hacked in the past year, while 43% of companies said the same. That’s an increase of 10% from the previous year.

Identity theft: With this type of cyber crime, criminals are able to find private information about people, such as their Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers. They then make purchases in the victim’s name and even ruin their credit. Every year, about 15 million Americans become victims of identity theft, resulting in more than $50 billion in losses.

Piracy: Another type of theft that occurs online involves movies, TV shows, games, and music, which are often illegally downloaded and shared. In 2014, piracy resulted in the equivalent of 117 billion CDs being shared for free instead of being purchased. File sharing has actually increased by 44% between 2008 and 2014.

Transaction fraud: This may occur when a cyber criminal makes a purchase with a stolen credit card or offers an item for sale that he or she never ships once payment is collected. About 41% of cardholders in the US have been affected by this kind of fraud. And like most other types of cyber crime, transaction fraud has increased over the years, considering that annual global fraud losses equaled $13.7 billion in 2013, rising to $16.3 billion in 2014.

Malicious software: Some cyber criminals secretly install programs on computers that belong to individuals or businesses. The reasons behind installing malicious software vary. Some cyber criminals want to access private information so they can commit identity theft or transaction fraud. Others are hoping to render the computer useless or even destroy data, possibly so they can sabotage the business. Almost 1 million new malware threats appear every day, putting both individuals and businesses at risk of being targets.

Cyber Crime Facts to Know

The following statistics make it easy to see that cyber crime has been on the rise for years:

  • Online credit card fraud increased by 32% from 2009 to 2010, with the average amount of each fraudulent transaction increasing by 34%.
  • In 2010, revenue losses due to online fraudulent transactions totaled $2.7 billion, which increased to $3.4 billion in 2011 and jumped to $16.3 billion in 2014.
  • In the US State of Cybercrime survey taken in 2014, 34% of those surveyed said they had detected more security issues than the year before, and 59% said they were more apprehensive about cyber threats than they had been in previous years.




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