Losses of cybercrime victims exceeded $1.4 billion in 2017, according to the latest FBI 2017 Internet Crime report.
The top three cybercrimes reported by victims in 2017 were non-payment/non-delivery crimes with 84,079 victims, personal data breaches with 30,904 victims, and phishing with 25,344 victims.
Two of the top three crimes, non-payment/non-delivery, and personal data breaches were also in the top spot in 2016 while phishing beat out 419/overpayment scams which dropped to fourth place in 2017, affecting only 23,135 victims compared to the 25,716 victims in 2016.
The report’s data represents a total of 301,580 complaints filed with the Internet Complaint Center (IC3) in 2017 alone. The goal of the report is to increase public awareness about current internet scams and fraud as the Bureau encourages users to report any cybercrimes they may witness.
The report found the top states by the number of victims were California with 41,974 victims, Florida with 21,887 victims, Texas with 21,852 victims, New York with 17,622 victims, and Pennsylvania with 11,348 victims. In 2016, Illinois had the fifth highest number of victims with 9,177 but an increase in the volume of attacks has pushed the state to seventh place with 9,381 despite having more victims than the year prior.
The states with the highest losses were California at more than $214 million, Texas at more than $115 million, Florida with more than $110 million, New York with nearly $89 million and Arizona with just over $59 million.
In 2017 IC3 received 1,783 complaints that were identified as ransomware compared to 2,673 complaints in 2016.
High-Tech Bridge Chief Executive Officer Ilia Kolochenko, said he finds these numbers alarming as fewer people are reporting ransomware attacks.
“According to many different reports, both the quality and quantity of ransomware is steadily growing (omitting minor fluctuations), so the fact that victims are reporting fewer cases to the FBI may simply mean that they are disappointed by the FBI’s inability to help recover the data or at least prosecute offenders,” he said. “People are losing their confidence in government and law enforcement agencies to protect them from cybercriminals.”
Kolochenko went on to say private security companies will most likely benefit as more people consider them a more reliable alternative. In the long term, he warns, the long-standing authority of government may be undermined due to its inability to ensure the security of its citizens in the digital space.
To prevent ransomware attacks her recommends users keep all their systems up to date, install a free antivirus software, and carefully check any and all links and attachments before opening them while maintaining a zero trust policy with online contacts.