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Cybercrimes cost 2-3 per cent of world GDP

Mar 19,2019 - Last updated at Mar 19,2019

Cyberspace is the jurisdiction of computer networks where information is stored, shared and transferred online. In the beginning, cyberspace started as a communication channel to benefit from information in various fields and sectors. However, this has been used by some computer users to launch cybercrimes that cost private and public sectors billions of dollars in loss. Not only were they launched by them, but also by non-state actors, who have the opportunity to grab the codes and main infrastructure to mount cyber operations against various targets to spread their dogmas and doctrines.

Numerous reports have been revealed that cybercrimes and e-piracy in 2019 will double, which had prompted many organisations to focus on how to achieve e-security and begin to allocate a large budget to achieve this purpose. A recent report demonstrated that the cost of cybercrimes will rise to $6.3 trillion by 2021. One can see the ultimate importance of e-security in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) market, especially after many companies had been exposed to piracy in 2018, as some specialised reports manifested that more than 50 per cent of the companies and businesses had a security breach.

Cyber criminals were swindling international economies of large amounts of money estimated by some specialists in cybercrimes at 2-3 per cent of the world GDP. The risk is growing as companies move to store their most important information on the web. The potential targets have been financial institutions and military entities. The volume of insurance against electronic piracy is estimated at $2.8 billion in 2018, up from $1 billion in 2017. Most of this amount is spent on small SME policies. Though new technologies have reshaped human life, they have a dual effect. With the big boom in Internet communication, it is easy to break through private pages and steal extremely dangerous personal data, even stealing bank accounts, military secrets and storming top secret security websites.

Internet experts believe that there are two types of companies and organisations which have either been exposed to hacking or are prone to be hacked. Security researchers have discovered flaws in the Internet blocks or structure, forcing some companies to return to the use of paper. According to analysts, hacker attacks will increase in the coming years after everyone has become a frequent user of certain websites, especially those who deal with banks in terms of depositing and online purchases either through mobile phones, computer or corporate networks. Hackers primarily target networks, servers, personal computers, personal accounts on the Internet and even government websites, and can use their target computers as a starting point for their next attack, or into a network under their control to launch attacks or launch malicious programmes.

In response to such threats, governments should plan to provide special security in a bid to control the digital world. Protecting the Internet is not an easy task. One of the reasons for this is its multiplicity, the breadth of its areas, its systems and its interrelationship with each other, as well as the change and development of these areas over time. Thus, cyberspace must be understood as a set of interconnected electronic and digital technologies that allow for control and communication between all systems related to modern life.

Cyberspace consists of a wide range of remote control and communications technologies: from insulin pumps that use wireless techniques to satellites used in positioning. Cyberspace is not one of the things that governments and military authorities can easily control, even if they are asked to do so. Most of the technologies and networks that make up that space are owned and maintained by multinational conglomerates that are essentially aimed at profiting.

By 2020, it is expected that the number of Internet-connected devices will reach 51 billion, including industrial, military and space devices, and everything related to cyberspace becomes a potential target for hacking attacks. Few years ago, security researchers confirmed their capability to hack devices that measure and calculate body steps for any human remotely. Since then, the pirates have shown their ability to steal insulin pumps using radio signals through which to direct the pump to inject insulin into the patient’s body, leading to severe consequences.

The past few years have shown that Internet security is not limited to network security, computers or network servers and is not just about securing secrets, but the real battle for cyberspace is how to protect objects. The threat lies in daily technologies people rely on, such as cars, cash machines, medical devices, power networks, communications satellites and telephone networks.

Many federal agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, attach great importance to protecting national companies and citizens from cyber attacks, but other government agencies may reap the benefits of continued targeting of the Internet. Secret groups, such as the National Security Agency, invest millions to find and take care of the flaws in the network to prevent attackers or hackers from control the system.

In addition to efforts of ordinary users, competent companies must secure their products. Governments should be blamed if the information provided is lost or leaded; this does not belittle users’ role to protect and secure their personal information, such as constant updating of Internet browsers and selecting strong passwords for personal accounts and for e-mail.


The writer is a consultant, senior political and media adviser and the executive director of Geostrategic Media Centre-USA. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times

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