Cybercrime costs rise by 40%, attack frequency doubles, report says

The cost and frequency of cybercrime have risen for the third straight year, according to a recent research report unveiled by Hewlett-Packard (HP), the world’s largest maker of personal computers.

The report, titled “The 2012 Cost of Cyber Crime Study”, found that the average annualised cost of cybercrime incurred by a benchmark sample of U.S. organisations was US$8.9 million. This represents a 6 percent increase on the average cost reported in 2011, and a 38 percent increase on 2010.

The study also revealed a 42 percent increase in the number of cyber-attacks, with organisations experiencing an average of 102 successful attacks per week, compared to 72 attacks per week in 2011 and 50 attacks per week in 2010.

Cassie Liddle, Solution Pre-Sales Architect at HP South Africa and MEMA believes the increase can only be curbed by deployment of security intelligence solutions.

“Organisations are spending increasing amounts of time, money and energy responding to cyber-attacks at levels that will soon become unsustainable,” she said. “There is clear evidence to show that the deployment of advanced security intelligence solutions helps to substantially reduce the cost, frequency and impact of these attacks.”

The costliest cyber crimes are those caused by malicious code, denial of service attacks (DoS & DDoS), stolen or hijacked devices, and malevolent insiders. When combined, these account for more than 78 percent of annual cybercrime costs per organisation.

Additional key findings include:

*Information theft and business disruption continue to represent the highest external costs. On an annual basis, information theft accounts for 44 percent of total external costs, up 4 percent from 2011. Disruption to business or lost productivity accounted for 30 percent of external costs, up 1 percent from 2011.

*Deploying advanced security intelligence solutions can mitigate the impact of cyber-attacks. Organisations that deployed security information and event management (SIEM) solutions realised a cost savings of nearly $1.6 million per year. As a result, these organisations experienced a substantially lower cost of recovery, detection and containment than organisations that had not deployed SIEM solutions.

*Cyberattacks can be costly if not resolved quickly. The average time to resolve a cyber-attack is 24 days, but it can take up to 50 days according to this year’s study. The average cost incurred during this 24-day period was about $590,000, representing a 42 percent increase over last year’s estimated average cost of close to $415,000 during an 18-day average resolution period.

*Recovery and detection remain the most costly internal activities associated with cybercrime. On an annual basis, these activities account for almost half of the total internal cost, with operating expenses and labour representing the majority of the total.

HP’s premier Europe, Middle East and Africa client event, HP Discover, takes place on December 4 to 6 in Frankfurt, Germany.

HP sponsored the research conducted by the Ponemon Institute.

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