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Data Security & Cyber Crime Growing Worldwide

Online security has taken on a higher level of importance as cyber crime, over the past few years, evolved into an serious threat to people around the world, escalating in severity and advancing into many forms, from phishing, to password cracking, to identity theft to even large-scale nation-against-nation cyber-attacks. In a Bloomberg report, it was revealed by the Pentagon that cyber crimes rose 37% from 2009 to 2010, an increase of 100 terabytes of data. A 2011 cybercrime report from Norton reveals the extent of cyber crime and its astounding cost of lost time and cash to consumers.

In 24 countries, over a million fall victim to various cyber crimes every single day. More specific statistics in the report revealed that 14 adults suffered from cybercrime every second. The amount of money linked with this activity is even more staggering. According to the Ponemon Institute, an Internet security research group, US companies have lost an estimated $96 billion from security breaches. Source.

Symantec estimated the cost of global cybercrimes to be at $114 billion, eclipsing the global market for marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined. Source. While these statistics may not seem mundane or even relatable to an ordinary person, the threat is very present and comes in forms that appeal to many on a personal level.

Take the example of e-mail scams. The media has already picked up a wave of illegal activities ranging from phishing to something as personal as “inheritance notification” sent via e-mail by Nigerian scam rings. This inheritance bait, while too good to be true, appeals to many people and never fails to catch attention as it stirs our natural predisposition to procuring easy money. Sadly, many people have been caught by these scams, and this is just one among many forms of cybercrimes designed to steal information and money and compromise the victims’ safety and finances.

In light of the shocking rise of cybercrimes, many government agencies have set up countermeasures to protect citizens from various forms of it.  The U.S. Secret Service, FBI and Department of Homeland Security have been working closely together towards this purpose and are gaining ground. Source. While cybercrime is expected to get worse in terms of scale and diversity, there are countermeasures and we can protect ourselves from it, given proper knowledge and resources.