Anyone watching the political situation in the US knows that cybercrime has become more than just an economic tool. The political use of cybercrime is potentially even more critical to the world than the economic impacts but understanding this should not have any of us forget how critical the dollar costs are.
In the end every company and every consumer pays a portion of the costs incurred. A recent McAfee report released last month indicates that the annual worldwide cost of this scourge is over $600 billion US dollars. It identifies that in Canada the cost is counted in the billions and the impact on the worldwide GDP ranges between 0.50 and almost 1.00 percent of GDP.
Grouped under five major elements; malicious scans, new malware, phishing, ransomware, and records lost to hacking the estimated daily occurrences are over 80 billion, each and every day. The sheer magnitude of these numbers are sobering but probably not surprising.
Even the Bank of Canada is reported as having concerns that Canada's financial systems could be affected by cascading effects of cyber attacks.
Of course simply identifying this as a serious threat through out the world does not solve any problems except as a means to highlight to every person and enterprise that taking reasonable steps and precautions to protect themselves is an important thing to do. It is reported that the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has indicated that as high as half of the small and medium sized businesses in Canada have had some sort of cyber attack.
Protection takes a lot of effort and investment for any business including the need for software and consulting assistance to protect computer and communications systems as well as the time and effort to train employees and others on how to protect the organization. The good thing is that most businesses have understood that there is a need for protection and have incorporated some work into their plans. The scale of these efforts however may not be of a size that reflects the potential of the overall magnitude of the threat.
Unfortunately, this substantial burden upon the operations of the computing systems and communications across the world has become a necessity which is now an underlying investment we all must share. It would be nice to think it will go away somehow or that there will become a 'golden bullet' that will stop it outright. This is not going to happen so diligence, effort, planning and continual learning are going to have to be the norm as we move ahead.