Global cybercrime costs $600 bn annually: study

The annual cost of cybercrime has hit $600 billion worldwide, fueled by growing sophistication of hackers and proliferation of criminal marketplaces and cryptocurrencies. (AFP)
Updated 21 February 2018
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Global cybercrime costs $600 bn annually: study

WASHINGTON: The annual cost of cybercrime has hit $600 billion worldwide, fueled by growing sophistication of hackers and proliferation of criminal marketplaces and cryptocurrencies, researchers said Wednesday.
A report produced by the security firm McAfee with the Center for Strategic and International Studies found theft of intellectual property represents about one-fourth of the cost of cybercrime in 2017.
Russia, North Korea and Iran are the main sources of hackers targeting financial institutions, while China is the most active in cyber espionage, the report found.
The researchers said ransomware is the fastest-growing component of cybercrime, helped by the easy availability of marketplaces offering hacking services.
The global research report comes days after the White House released a report showing cyberattacks cost the United States between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, while warning of a “spillover” effect for the broader economy if certain sectors are hit.
Globally, criminals are using the same tools for data or identity theft, bank hacks, and other cyber mischief, with anonymity preserved by using bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
“The digital world has transformed almost every aspect of our lives, including risk and crime, so that crime is more efficient, less risky, more profitable and has never been easier to execute,” said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer for McAfee.
CSIS vice president James Lewis said meanwhile the geopolitical risks of cybercrime are a key element in these attacks.
“Our research bore out the fact that Russia is the leader in cybercrime, reflecting the skill of its hacker community and its disdain for western law enforcement,” Lewis said.
“North Korea is second in line, as the nation uses cryptocurrency theft to help fund its regime, and we’re now seeing an expanding number of cybercrime centers, including not only North Korea but also Brazil, India and Vietnam.”
The latest McAfee-CSIS report suggested cybercrime costs were rising from a 2014 estimate of $445 billion.
“Cybercrime remains far too easy, since many technology users fail to take the most basic protective measures, and many technology products lack adequate defenses, while cybercriminals use both simple and advanced technology to identify targets, automate software creation and delivery, and easy monetization of what they steal,” the report said.
The study did not attempt to measure the cost of all malicious activity on the Internet, but focused on the loss of proprietary business data, online fraud and financial crimes, manipulation directed toward publicly traded companies, cyber insurance and reputational damage.


Xi, Kim to meet amid trade, nuclear standoffs with US

Updated 29 min 58 sec ago
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Xi, Kim to meet amid trade, nuclear standoffs with US

  • Chinese president to embark on state visit to Pyongyang on Thursday
  • It will be the first official visit by a Chinese leader to Pyongyang in 14 years

SEOUL: Chinese President Xi Jinping is to start a two-day state visit to Pyongyang on Thursday to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ahead of next week’s G20 Summit in Japan.

It will be the first official visit by a Chinese leader to Pyongyang in 14 years. Xi’s visit, which comes at Kim’s invitation, takes place as China and North Korea lock horns with the US over trade and nuclear issues, respectively.

“Xi is expected to show off his strong influence over the Kim Jong Un regime, which is in a tug of war with the Trump administration over denuclearization and sanctions,” Moon Sung Mook, a researcher in Seoul, told Arab News.

“But I don’t think the Xi-Kim meeting will provide a clue as to the stalled nuclear disarmament talks between Pyongyang and Washington.” Moon, a retired brigadier general, said Xi will likely support Kim’s stance on phased denuclearization efforts in return for incentives from the US.

“China has long sided with North Korea’s assertions about a step-by-step denuclearization process and the halting of joint military exercises by the American and South Korean armed forces,” said Moon.

“They’ve been quite successful as the joint exercises have been suspended, and I don’t believe Xi will add pressure on the North over sanctions,” he added.

“For Kim, Xi’s visit will help ease his diplomatic crunch after the collapse of his (Kim’s) summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February.”

That summit broke down due to disagreements over how far North Korea should go in dismantling its nuclear programs in return for sanctions relief.

FASTFACT

Washington has demanded that the North make a verifiable effort to get rid of all its nuclear weapons, including its enriched uranium program, before any sanctions are lifted.

Washington has demanded that the North make a verifiable effort to get rid of all its nuclear weapons, including its enriched uranium program, before any sanctions are lifted.

In defiance of UN resolutions, North Korea has test-fired short-range multiple ballistic missiles over the eastern waters of the Korean Peninsula, further complicating the denuclearization talks.

But Pyongyang stopped short of firing intercontinental ballistic missiles, a red line drawn by the Trump administration.

Prof. Kim Dong Yub of Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies said the North Korean leader is “using diplomatic leverage to deal with the US … in the face of US-led sanctions.”

He added: “For Xi, the North’s denuclearization won’t be a major issue among his agenda items as his country is locked in a standoff with Trump over trade and technology.”

He said: “Given the escalating trade war between Beijing and Washington, Xi’s trip to Pyongyang is obviously an important geopolitical move.” Beijing has yet to confirm whether Xi will meet with Trump during the G20 Summit.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s presidential spokeswoman Ko Min Jung said: “We expect this (Xi’s) visit to contribute to the early resumption of talks for complete denuclearization and a permanent peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula.”

Trump recently said he had received another “beautiful” letter from the North Korean leader, opening the door for his third summit with him.