Symantec quits drugs, finds cost of cybercrime falls US$4bn

Swaps bag of cocaine for “nutritious foods”.

The worldwide annual cost of cybercrime has fallen by US$4 billion to US$110 billion in the past year, according to Symantec, which has dropped using drugs to depict the scale of cybercrime in favour of “nutritious foods”.

Symantec has opted to only include “direct costs” to come to its estimate that the total cost of cybercrime is $110 billion.

The figure is a 3.5 per cent decline on Symantec’s estimate last year that the global cost of cybercrime was $114 billion.

Last year, Symantec included a controversial “time lost due to cybercrime experiences” category, which it estimated caused losses of $274 billion. The combined figure of $388 billion was $100 billion more than United Nations’ estimates for the value of the global trade in cocaine, marijuana and heroine.

While the global cost of cybercrime has fallen 3.5 per cent, it says the cost to Australia -- excluding time lost -- has risen 11 per cent (US$200 million) from $1.8 billion in 2011 to $2 billion.

The rise in cost to Australia also came in spite of a 25 per cent fall in the global average loss per victim of $264 in 2011 to $197 in 2012.

“With losses totalling an average of US $197 per victim across the world in direct financial costs, cybercrime costs consumers more than a week’s worth of nutritious food necessities for a family of four,” says Symantec.

It does not explain why the cost per person fell, but notes that this year it counted 556 million victims whereas last year there were 431 million, a rise of about 21 per cent.

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