Annual revenue of cybercrime is 13 times bigger than Walmart’s

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cybercrime revenue

A new Statista Market Insights survey has found that the annual cost of cyberattacks reached $8.15 trillion last year. This figure overshadows even the revenues of the largest corporations in the world. To put this into perspective, cybercrime’s annual income is a whopping 13 times larger than that of Walmart, the biggest US company which earns around $638.78 billion.

It is even harder to compare to the revenues of other giants like Amazon ($554.03 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($401.75 billion), Apple ($383.28 billion), and UnitedHealth Group ($359.98 billion). If you were to combine the annual revenues of all these companies, it would only amount to $2.34 trillion — less than a third of what cybercrime costs the world.

The $8.15 trillion figure accounts for damage and destruction caused by various cyberattacks, including ransom payouts, lost productivity, system downtimes, and data theft. Cybercrime has become one of the largest illegal economies globally, threatening businesses and governments.

“Some still believe a typical hacker is just a guy wearing a hoodie in a dark room. But that isn’t true anymore. Cybercrime has evolved into a professionalized global enterprise with skilled hackers, nation-state backed groups, and organized cybercrime rings working in tandem,” says Carlos Salas, a cybersecurity expert at NordLayer.

How cybercriminals earn money

So how are cybercriminals able to get over $8 trillion annually? Two major illicit business models stand out — selling stolen data on dark web marketplaces and ransomware attacks.

Cybercrime groups infiltrate systems to steal personal and financial data, login credentials, and corporate secrets, which are then packaged and sold to other threat actors, fueling crimes like identity theft, payment fraud, and corporate espionage.

Ransomware is used by hackers to encrypt an organization’s systems and data, holding them hostage until a ransom fee is paid. Ransomware crews have disrupted businesses in various industries and governments, extorting millions. It has become a criminal enterprise, with operators renting malware and negotiating ransom payments through sophisticated infrastructures.

“With relatively low entry costs but higher income than traditional crimes, it’s no surprise cybercrime has become such an attractive criminal pursuit,” said Salas. “There’s less physical risk than, say, burglary or armed robbery. With so much valuable data and systems to target across businesses, cybercrime has become a highly profitable illegal industry.”

Read next: Public authorities rally against alarming malware surge: Over 11 million attacks in four years, study shows

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