$6.9Bn lost globally to cybercrime in 2021 – Report

$6.9Bn lost globally to cybercrime in 2021 - Report

Cybersecurity company Surfshark just released updated 2021 statistics depicting that the world lost at least $6.9B to cybercrime in 2021, $2.7B (+64%) more than in the previous year.

Every hour 97 people, on average, were affected by cybercrimes online, collectively losing approximately 788K, as much as three brand new Lamborghini Huracans cost. The study found that investment fraud is the costliest of all, with a victim of this kind losing $70,811 on average, more than the average American has in a lifetime savings account.

“In the last 21 years, financial losses grew more than 400 times, from $2,000 to $788,000 per hour, while online crime victim count increased by 17 times,” explains Agneska Sablovskaja, Data Researcher at Surfshark. “Compared to 2020, 8% more people fell victim to cybercrime globally, whereas this number grew by 40% in the UK.”

In total, cybercriminals stole at least 6.9B dollars worldwide in 2021 from 874K victims, while in 2020, this number stood at 4.2B and around 792K victims.

On average, every hour last year, 97 people were attacked by malicious schemes, such as investment fraud, romance fraud, identity theft, phishing, malware, etc. These crimes directly translate into at least 787K stolen from people every 60 minutes, 308K more than in the previous year.

What are the most prevalent cybercrimes in the world?

According to Surfshark’s study, phishing continues to be the most common cybercrime for the third year in a row. In 2021, there were a total of 323,972 phishing victims.

In other words, every second individual that fell for an online crime fell for a phishing attack. However, on average, phishing victims lost the least amount of money ($136 per victim), while people that fell victim to investment fraud lost the most ($70,811 on average). 

According to the FBI, the rise of cryptocurrency may have contributed to the investment fraud boom, as it is extremely pervasive in various cybercrime instances. In 2021, the Internet Crime Complaint Center received 34,202 complaints involving using cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Ripple, amounting to 1.6B dollars lost. Compared to the 2020s, a nearly seven-fold increase in losses is reported.

“Criminals prefer cryptocurrencies not only because of their relative anonymity,” explains Aleksandr Valentij, Chief Information Security Officer at Surfshark, “If the victim realizes they’ve been scammed, crypto transfers cannot be reversed like bank transfers and the money is lost forever, especially if it goes through a Cryptocurrency Tumbler or is “washed” in any other way. This is particularly convenient for scammers, and combined with the inflated interest in crypto we have at the moment; it creates a perfect environment for investment fraud cases.”

In total, cybercrime claimed at least 6,502,323 victims and $26,116,000,000 in losses over the 21-year period. Historical statistics show that cybercrime rates tend to go with global events. In 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cybercrime victim count grew by 69% compared to 2019 (from 467K to 792K cybercrime victims per year). This was the highest cybercrime victim growth recorded since 2001.

Witnessing this problem, Surfshark developed a Data Vulnerability Thermometer combining open-source FBI information and research algorithms. The online tool gives users their personal risk score, possible specific cybercrimes, and prevention tactics depending on the data points selected. 

The Data Vulnerability Thermometer also contains descriptions, typology, tips, and statistics of 20 different internet crime offenses aimed at individual users.

This encyclopedia also has extensive coverage of statistics on trends and patterns in the field of cybercrimes. Users can check global cybercrime density statistics, their financial impact, yearly growth of cybercrime costs, victim count by age, and more: https://surfshark.com/research/data-breach-impact/statistics.


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