Cybercrime Damages to Reach $27 Billion by 2025, New Estimation Reveals

Anton P. | April 27, 2020

According to Atlas VPN estimations, damages caused by cybercrime are expected to reach more than $27 billion by 2025.

Throughout the last 6-years, cybercrime damages increased by an average of 37,44% per year. Atlas VPN expects that in 2020, financial losses growth caused by hacker attacks will exceed the 6-year average due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lockdowns might act as a catalyst for the biggest hacker attack outbreak to date. People are stuck at home, surfing the web, and working remotely. Meaning, the pool for potential cybercrime victims has never been larger.

cybercrime damage estimations

Atlas VPN projects that in 2020, there will be a 45% increase in cybercrime damages in comparison to 2019. This means that in 2020, the estimated monetary losses will reach over $5 billion.

From 2021 and onward, Atlas VPN estimates that monetary losses will continue to surge by around 40% annually. By these figures, in 2025, hackers could profit $27.855 billion.

We expect that from 2019 to 2025, the damages caused by hacker attacks could sky-rocket by 696%.

The latest cybercrime trends visible in the 2019 FBI Internet Crime Report show that hackers are focusing on the human layer errors more than ever.

Antiviruses, firewalls, and cloud security services are constantly improving. However, many people still do not take the time to learn the basics of digital security.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a website available to the public where people can report Internet-facilitated criminal activities to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), saw a record-high number of losses due to cybercrime in 2019.

The FBI received 467,361 complaints, with accumulated losses exceeding $3.5 billion.

Cybercrime damages increased by 338% in the last 6 years

The law enforcement agency also reported that in 2014, hackers stole over $800 million from unsuspecting victims; by 2019, the number reached $3.5 billion. In other words, the monetary damages caused by cybercrime increased over four times in the last six years.

In 2019, digital crimes that caused most financial damages were business email compromise (BEC), romance fraud, and spoofing. Out of these, BEC accounts for over half of the losses in 2019, with a staggering $1.77 billion.

A BEC scam happens when hackers steal legitimate corporate email accounts and request the human resources department to wire money to a new bank account.

2014-2019 cybercrime damages

Analyzing damages by complaint, on average, BEC losses amounted to $75,000 per report.

In 2019, the second most financially damaging scam type was romance fraud, which amounted to over $475 million in losses. In total, there were 19,473 such fraud cases reported, which comes out to $24,393 of losses per complaint.

The third-place went to spoofing, which brought hackers over $300 million in the last year alone. There were 25,789 reported cases of spoofing fraud, which equaled to $11,651 loss per victim.

The most common crimes recorded were phishing, non-payment or non-delivery, and personal data leaks.

In contrast, phishing attacks resulted in a $500 loss per complaint. Non-payment or non-delivery caused around $3,178 of damages. While ransomware averaged $4,400 per successful hacker attack in 2019.

Preventative measures

Atlas VPN provides the steps to protect yourself against the three most financially damaging types of cyberattacks:

  • Starting from the attack that causes the most losses, BEC is usually highly targeted and well thought out. IT security department has to educate the staff to the fact that such attacks exist, and what are the clear-tell signs that one is being attempted.
  • Moreover, verification should be required to approve requests to change direct deposit details. One of the best practices is to implement a procedure where the request has to be physically signed by the employee.
  • ** Romance fraud is one of the hardest scams to avoid since the fraudster usually takes a significant amount of time to build trust with the victim. Afterward, the scammer will come up with a story in which they are in urgent need of financial help, but they assure you that they will give it back shortly after.**
  • The best way to avoid such scams is to set a personal rule to never send money to people you meet online. Mostly older people fall victim to these scams, which is why it is important to educate elders of the dangers lurking online.
  • Spoofing is similar to business email compromise scams. But it is broader as it not only focuses on scamming businesses but individuals as well.
  • Just like with other types of scams, having the knowledge that they exist is the first and the most essential step. Afterward, individuals should stay vigilant and double-check if the person or authorities are who they say they are.
  • As a rule of thumb, it is best not to share sensitive information via phone calls, text messages, or emails.
Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.



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