Hacking Is Growing Industry Worth Billions: New Study Reveals Scope of Cybercrime
United States intelligence officials said in a report on Monday that cybercrime is growing as an industry while it continues to hurt the country's economy. According to their report, $445 billion per year in trade theft occurs and that number worsens as computer hackers maintain or increase their criminal activity. Officials further warned that financial and energy companies as well as retailers are the main targets of cyberhackers, representing the groups at greatest risk of being victims to thieves. Hackers have become a lot more sophisticated at robbing money and stealing data from their targets' servers.
Stewart Baker, the lead author of a study published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote that cybercrime is "here to stay." With that proclamation he suggested the unlikeliness of cybercrime diminishing anytime soon, especially because hackers continue to learn more ways of improving their craft. He also provided an outlook of increased losses and slower growth. New data suggests that over half of American adults have been hacked in the past year. Baker served as the general counsel for the National Security Agency in the 1990s and served in the Department of Homeland Security as an assistant secretary.
The damages hackers have caused are very serious. According to the report, millions of people in the U.S. alone have had their personal information stolen, and an oil company has lost hundreds of millions of dollars of business opportunities after hackers got ahold of important data on oilfield exploration. They have caused job losses for hundreds of thousands of workers in both the U.S. and in Europe, costing up to as much as $575 billion. Trade secrets are also being stolen online, causing losses when it comes to intellectual property. Furthermore, it is very likely that hackers will eventually realize that they can even manipulate the market.
While the numbers are already surprisingly huge -- far more than most people realize -- there is the still chance that the situation could be worse as many hacking attacks remain unreported.
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