Cybercrime Surveys Aren’t Telling Us What We Need to Know

For years, government officials, news articles, and security companies have warned about the dangers and impact of cybercrime. Patrick Peterson, chief security researcher at Cisco, has estimated that losses totaled $560 million in 2009. Killian Strauss of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has estimated them at $100 billion annually. And in March 2009, Edward Amoroso, AT&T’s chief security officer, submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation estimating that cybercrime was bringing in illicit revenues of approximately $1 trillion a year.To some researchers, those wildly different numbers suggest that current methods for calculating cybercrime losses are so poor we actually have no idea how bad the problem is. And without good data, they say, there’s no way to fight it intelligently.

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