By 9 October 2012 | Categories: news


According to a recent revelation by HP, both the costs and the frequency of cybercrime have continued their rise for the third year in a row.

The company conducted a study of companies Stateside and found that not only has occurrence of cyber-attacks more than doubled over a three-year period, but the financial impact has also increased by almost a whopping 40%.

The 2012 Cost of Cyber Crime Study, which was conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by HP, further revealed that the average annualised cost of cybercrime was $8.9 million (R73.8 million).

This accounted for a 6% increase over the average cost reported in 2011, and a 38% increase when compared to 2010. The study further found that there had been a 42% increase in the number of cyber-attacks, with organisations experiencing an average of 102 successful attacks per week, compared to 72 attacks per week in 2011 and 50 attacks per week in 2010. 

Additionally, the study found that the most costly cybercrimes continue to be those caused by malicious code, denial of service, stolen or hijacked devices, and malevolent insiders. When combined, these accounted for more than 78% of annual cybercrime costs per organisation.

Key findings included:
  • Information theft and business disruption continue to represent the highest external costs. On an annual basis, information theft accounts for 44% of total external costs, up 4% from 2011. Disruption to business or lost productivity accounted for 30% of external costs, up 1% from 2011.
  • Deploying advanced security intelligence solutions can mitigate the impact of cyber-attacks. Organisations that deployed security information and event management (SIEM) solutions realised a cost savings of nearly $1.6 million per year. As a result, these organisations experienced a substantially lower cost of recovery, detection and containment than organisations that had not deployed SIEM solutions.
  • Cyber-attacks can be costly if not resolved quickly. The average time to resolve a cyber-attack is 24 days, but it can take up to 50 days according to this year’s study. The average cost incurred during this 24-day period was $591 780 (R4.9 million), representing a 42% increase over last year’s estimated average cost of $415 748 (R3.4 million) during an 18-day average resolution period.
  • Recovery and detection remain the most costly internal activities associated with cybercrime. On an annual basis, these activities account for almost half of the total internal cost, with operating expenses and labour representing the majority of the total.
Extraordinary measures

“Organisations are spending increasing amounts of time, money and energy responding to cyber-attacks at levels that will soon become unsustainable,” commented Cassie Liddle, Solution Pre-Sales Architect, HP South Africa.

“There is clear evidence to show that the deployment of advanced security intelligence solutions helps to substantially reduce the cost, frequency and impact of these attacks,” she added.

Amid this rather bleak landscape, the company explained that it is focused on changing the enterprise security landscape with the HP Security Intelligence platform. This, it elaborated, “leverages advanced threat research and powerful correlation of security events and vulnerabilities to deliver security intelligence spanning IT operations, applications and infrastructure.”

Additionally, the company confirmed that its premier Europe, Middle East and Africa client event, HP Discover, will take place on the 4th to the 6th of December in Frankfurt, Germany and will feature speakers such as Meg Whitman, HP’s chief executive officer, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the chief executive officer and co-founder and director of DreamWorks.

To the point

HP’s findings tally with what internet security companies such as Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro have been telling us for a while now, that businesses have become prime targets for cybercriminals, and that the motivations have increasingly become financial rather than simply malicious.
While cybercrime is clearly a threat that cannot be scoffed at, businesses at least cannot claim that they weren’t warned about the seriousness of the problem. 


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