Global Cost of Cybercrime Exceeds $400 Billion

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According to a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), sponsored by McAfee, cybercrime costs businesses more than $400 billion worldwide, costing approximately 200,000 jobs in the U.S., and 150,000 jobs in the European Union.

The report, entitled "Net Losses -- Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime" [PDF], states that global losses connected to breaches of personal information could reach $160 billion -- fully 40 million people in the U.S. have had their personal information stolen by hackers.

With the Internet economy estimated to generate between $2 trillion and $3 trillion a year, cybercrime is estimated to extract between 15 and 20 percent of that value.

"Cybercrime is a tax on innovation and slows the pace of global innovation by reducing the rate of return to innovators and investors," CSIS senior fellow Jim Lewis said in a statement. "For developed countries, cybercrime has serious implications for employment."

A significant portion of the cost of cybercrime is attributed not to the money stolen by hackers, but to cleanup costs. For example, in Italy, actual losses due to hacking totaled $875 million, but recovery or cleanup costs reached $8.5 billion.

"It’s clear that there's a real tangible economic impact associated with stopping cybercrime,” McAfee chief technology officer for the public sector Scott Montgomery said in a statement. "Over the years, cybercrime has become a growth industry, but that can be changed, with greater collaboration between nations, and improved public private partnerships."