To examine the dynamics of cybercrime and its economic monetary performance, Bromium has conducted a research into the cyberspace, revealing an annual revenue as high as $1.5 trillion.
The study called “into the web of profit” focused on revenue flow and profit distribution. The CEO of Bromium said that the study was meant to provide an overview analogy of how profitable the cybercrime venture has become. “The findings of Dr. McGuire’s research provide a shocking insight into just how widespread and profitable cybercrime [is today],” said Gregory Webb, CEO of Bromium.
This is the first study of its kind to make use of revenue flow and profit distribution to dive deeper into understanding the economy of all cybercrime worldwide. In the report released by the Bromium, a major concern was raised about illegal operations that usually occur on Darknet marketplaces and other cybercrime platforms. The study focused on the operation of human trafficking, terrorism, drug distribution and a few other activities flagged as illegal operations. Considering the fact that cybercriminals consult this part of the web to offer hacked data for sale, a part of their profits earned are also linked to the online black market.
A reference was made to platform capitalism as the veil behind that which cyber criminals operate. They administer websites that facilitate the emergence of buyers and sellers to exchange goods and services. This makes the website owners enjoy a larger share of the benefits that arise from the cybercrime operation. McGuire stated the fact that individual hackers earn an average amount of $30,000 in a year while the website managers earn up to $2 million for every 50 pieces of information of stolen details. Through the platform capitalism, they become facilitators of buying and selling to avoid being directly linked to a crime committed.
From the report, $1 billion was obtained from ransomware, $160 billion was made from data trading, $500 billion worth of trade secrets, $860 billion from illegal goods and services online, and $1.6 billion on crime-ware. The boom of the cybercrime economy arising from the high record of cyber-attacks can be as a result of many factors, but the most important factors are the services provided by the cybercrime websites. It was reported that these websites make it easy for criminal operation through the provision of ratings, descriptions, reviews, technical support and customer services. This has been a reason for the $1.5 tillion revenue estimation of the cybercrime world.
The cybercrime economy also has a strategy of creating space for further operation through reinvestment. According to the report, the cybercrime economy invests 20 percent of its revenue into other criminal activities which becomes a cycle. About $300 billion has been reinvested into the cybercrime world and this has expanded operations and listings. This has created an impression that the cybercrime operations will not end anytime soon as it is managed like any other legal venture. The report reveals that part of the $300 billion is also used to finance other criminal activities including the illicit distribution of drugs.
A separate report has also established that organized crime evolves with cybercrime. Dr. McGuire said that: “We can clearly link cybercrime to the spread of new psychoactive substances with over 620 new synthetic drug types on the market since 2005.”
Dr. McGuire stated that there is a close relationship between cybercrime and terrorism. He said emphatically that terrorists obtain revenue to finance their operation through the credit card theft online. He made reference to a British born and follower of AL-Qaeda who raised millions through cybercrime to support the terrorist operations.
Gregory Webb added that the cybercrime economy is the reason for the rampant cyber attacks due to how easy it is to launch an operation. He, therefore, said that authorities must first understand the system in the cyber economy before they embark on any mission against it. Arresting hackers as a prime mission will not put an end to cyber crime worldwide, unless more people understand the operations inside and out. The study was based on information obtained from convicted cyber criminals, law enforcement agencies, financial agencies and most importantly, a research on the Darkweb.