The true cost of cybercrime? $5.2 trillion apparently

Crime doesn’t pay.

But, apparently, cybercrime does.

Companies globally could incur $5.2 trillion in additional costs and lost revenue over the next five years due to cyber attacks, according to research from Gartner.

Why? Well, dependency on complex internet-enabled business models is outpacing the ability to introduce adequate safeguards that protect critical assets. In other words, organisations are not confident in their cyber security capabilities.

If you want to change that, read our article on cyber security best practice.

The cost of cybercrime

The world of cybercrime and cyber security is complex. The internet-related challenges facing business are increasing, and as a result, the CEOs role is evolving when it comes to technology, business architecture and governance.

In today’s environment someone needs to take the fall, just ask the chief executive and finance director of film company Pathé’s Dutch operation — who were fired in November last year, after criminals stole €19 million in a sophisticated email scam.

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On top of the threat to your livelihood, cybercrime from a wide range of malicious activities poses significant challenges that can threaten business operations, innovation and growth and the expansion into new products and services — which could end up costing companies trillions of dollars in lost revenue.

The high-tech industry faces the highest risk, according to the report from Accenture, with more than $753 billion hanging in the balance, followed by the life sciences and automotive industries, with 642 billion and $505 billion at risk, respectively.

“Internet security is lagging behind the sophistication of cybercriminals and is leading to an erosion of trust in the digital economy,” said Omar Abbosh, who leads Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology operating group globally.

“Strengthening internet security requires decisive — and, at times, unconventional — leadership by CEOs, not just CISOs. To become a cyber-resilient enterprise, companies need to start by bringing CISOs’ expertise to the board, ensuring security is built-in from the initial design stage and that all business managers are held responsible for security and data privacy.”

The key findings:

Four in five respondents believe that the advancement of the digital economy will be severely hindered unless there is dramatic improvement to internet security, and more than half (59%) of respondents said the internet is getting increasingly unstable from a cyber security standpoint and they are unsure how to react.

At the same time, three-quarters of respondents believe that addressing cyber security challenges will require an organised group effort, as no single organisation can solve the challenge on its own. With heightened concerns about internet security, more than half (56%) of executives would also welcome stricter business regulations imposed by a central organisation or governing body.

“The internet wasn’t built with today’s level of complexity and connectivity in mind, which is why it takes just one click — whether inside or outside the company walls — to fall prey to a devastating cyber attack,” said Kelly Bissell, senior managing director of Accenture Security. “No organisation can tackle the challenges posed by cyber threats on its own; it’s a global challenge that needs a global response, and collaboration is key. To shape a future that thrives on a strong and trustworthy digital economy, senior executives need to look beyond the bounds of their organisation, team with an ecosystem of partners, and secure their entire value chains — across every partner, supplier and customer.”

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The technology challenge

The rapid emergence of new technologies is creating additional challenges, as many organisations are adopting new and emerging technologies faster than they can address related cyber security issues.

A majority also said protecting their companies from weaknesses in third parties is increasingly difficult, which isn’t surprising given the complexity of today’s sprawling internet ecosystems.

Also, on the minds of many senior executives: consumer data protection. Fuelled by security concerns, 76% of respondents believe that consumers can’t trust the safety of their online identities when too much of their personal data is already available without restrictions.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...