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Cybercrime losses amount to over 1% of global GDP

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

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Global losses due to cyber attacks have reached $1 trillion in 2020, or more than 1% of global GDP. These losses come from the theft of monetary assets and intellectual property, but also from hidden losses that are often overlooked. It is on this last aspect that McAfee has examined in a report in partnership with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a US think tank, have published a new report on the hidden costs of cybercrime. Vanson Bourne was commissioned to survey 1,500 IT decision-makers and business leaders from all sectors in the US, France, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia and Japan.

Two thirds of companies attacked

The findings are damning: two thirds of the companies surveyed suffered a cyber attack in 2020. As a result, global losses due to cyber attacks have increased by more than 50% compared to 2018 to reach more than $1 trillion. This astronomical amount represents more than 1% of global GDP.

The report took a close look at the hidden costs of cybercrime. Four main expenses stand out: system downtime, reduced efficiency, incident response costs and brand and reputation damage. Around two-thirds of companies surveyed report downtime caused by an IT attack. In 2019, the average cost of their longest period of downtime was $762,231.

This downtime has an impact on productivity as, on average, organisations lost 9 hours of work per week. The average business interruption was 18 hours. In detail, engineering departments suffered greater losses, averaging $965,000, in stark contrast to human resources departments, which suffered losses of approximately $89,000.

Damage to the company's reputation