The world today, by and large, is run digitally. The accounts that we use to conduct business and pleasure online have become extremely valuable. That’s why attacks targeting digital accounts are more frequent and severe than ever before.
It is said that cybercrime is now more profitable than all of the world’s drug trade combined, with annual losses from cybercrime reaching more than $6 billion in 2021. Losses at this scale could not be achieved by lone attackers working in silos.
In fact, the growth of cybercrime has created a parallel ecosystem of businesses that support this activity and share in the profits. These range from identity farms, which create synthetic identities and test stolen credentials, click farms and organized human attackers, who carry out nuanced attacks, and ‘arms dealers’ selling sophisticated tools to launch large-scale complex attacks.
The truth is: Cybercrime is a highly organized business. If you want to fight against it effectively, it starts by understanding a few drivers that fuel successful attacks.
Socioeconomic Factors Drive Cybercrime Patterns Globally
The motivations and tactics of attackers depend on socioeconomic factors in their geographic region. Disparities in wages and cost of labor, differing costs of living, and the comparative purchasing power of different currencies shift incentive levels among would-be fraudsters. For example, based on the value of the ruble compared to the US dollar, cybercriminals in Russia stand to gain four times the value from defrauding United States businesses as opposed to acquiring rubles.
On top of economic drivers, regions have different access to the technology needed to support sustainable cybercrime outfits. For example, while Ethiopia is a country with very weak purchasing power parity, it equally has one of the lowest internet penetration rates globally. With only 15% of the population having access to the internet it is an unlikely cybercrime hub.
Therefore, rather than the very lowest income countries having the greatest incentive to enter the global cybercrime field, it is the lower- and middle-income nations where financial incentive and opportunity converge to make cybercrime most appealing.
Top countries of origination for cyberattacks, Q3 2021
Attackers Have the Economic Edge on Businesses
Businesses are coming up against global cybercrime networks which are leveraging regions with high incentive levels, using the economic realities of different locations to their advantage. In recent years, businesses have tried to deploy a range of solutions to protect against these attacks but sometimes the cost of these tools may outweigh the revenue from those use cases.
While this …….