A recent study found cybercriminals living like the upper echelon of society by converting their money into assets, flashy jewelry, and expensive cars while others focus mainly on the daily necessities.
The cybercrime economy has become a mirror image of contemporary capitalism as financial motivation has proven the most single important driver in both the form and spread of cybercrime.
Bromium’s “Into The Web Of Profit” report found Cybercrime revenues have reached $1.5 trillion with no signs of slowing down, this is the same amount of money America owes in student loan debt.
“ In fact, revenue generation in the cybercrime economy takes place at a variety of levels – from large ‘multinational’ operations that can generate profits of over $1 billion; to smaller, small scale operations, where profits of $30,000- $50,000 are more the norm,” researchers said in the report.
The report found illicit, illegal online markets account for $860 billion, trade secrets and IP theft for $500 billion, data trading for $160 billion, crimeware or CaaS (Cybercrime-as-a-Service) $1.6 billion and ransomware for $1 billion.
In addition cybercriminals spend their ill-earned funds similar to how civilians on the straight and narrow albeit some are a bit flashier than others.
The report found 15 percent of the cybercriminals sampled spent the majority of their revenues on covering immediate needs – such as buying nappies/diapers or paying bills, 20 percent spent their revenues on disorganised or hedonistic spending on things like drugs or paying prostitutes.
Some criminals acted like movie stars and entertainers with 15 percent directing their revenues towards more calculated spending to attain status, or to impress partners and other criminals with things like jewelry, and 30 percent converted some of their revenues into assets such as property, while 20 percent reinvested into their business, more cybercrime.
And while some blew their money luxury goods, there was also evidence that cyebrcriminals converted their funds into long-term assets such as property, land, and art.
To keep from unintentionally refilling the coffers of cybercriminals, users should practice basic cybersecurity hygiene by protecting email attachments, containing malware infections, protecting the host, contain phishing attacks, and isolating malware.