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Cybercrime losses amount to $14.2 billion
by Konstantin Kornakov | Jan 30 2006 12:02 GMT

According to research by Computer Economics, worldwide financial losses caused by malware have fallen for the first time since 2002. Data gathered by the organisation suggests that losses in 2005 totalled around $14 billion. Although this is good news, not everything is positive. Cyber threats are changing, with malicious users seemingly shifting their focus from general to well-planned, targeted attacks.

Computer Economics experts have attributed the fall in losses to firms paying increased attention to security issues. Businesses have become more aware of the fact that vulnerable networks can mean huge financial losses. As a consequence, networks are becoming more secure. Additionally, the report praises antivirus and security software vendors for their continuing efforts in advancing security technology. A third factor that has reduced overall losses is the new trend of virus writers targeting attacks; 2005 saw a continued shift from the general aim of inflicting arbitrary damage to the focus on making financial gains using malware.

The report concludes that even though the figures initially seem to be positive, the changing nature of cyber threats should be carefully monitored to ensure continued improvements. The report also states that new antivirus technologies and improved security policies are still not enough to successfully combat malware. The researchers believe that firms should treat malware attacks in the same way as other crimes. Data published in the annual CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey shows that currently up to 80% of all cybercrime activity goes unreported by companies. Given that malicious activity is taking on more and more features of organised crime, this figure gives cause for concern.


Computer Economics