How Threats Increase in Internet Time

Cybercrime incidents and costs increase with each passing minute on the Internet.

A famous song from the musical Rent pointed out that there are 525,600 minutes in a year. A new report looks at just how much Internet evil can fit into each minute of the year, and it's definitely not all about love.

It's about the numbers inside the $1,138,888 dollars of cybercrime cost each minute that add up to $600 billion in damage each year, according to a February, 2018 McAfee report on the impact of cybercrime. And the details of those numbers tell a story of growing risk due to a growing computer footprint, detailed in The Evil Internet Minute, a new infographic generated by researchers at RiskIQ.

"Some of it [the data] is based on reports from companies like McAfee and Gartner, but the research comes from our own systems," says Yonathan Klijnsma, threat researcher at RiskIQ. He explains that RiskIQ builds large databases from information found in global data crawling and used portions of that data to draw conclusions on individuals threats and trends.

Those conclusions involve numbers that become almost mesmerizing as the time scales and dollar amounts change: For example, RiskIQ reports that four potential vulnerable Web components are discovered each minute. That works out to more than two million such discoveries every year.

Klijnsma worries more, however, about active criminal activities like the .07 incidents of Magecart (36,792 per year) that RiskIQ found. "People thought the Ticketmaster breach was a one-off based on Magecart, but it's a credit-card skimming group," Klijnsma says, referring to the June incident. Instead, he says, the group has taken the "classic" credit card skimmer attack and moved it from the gas pump and ATM to e-commerce sites.

The lesson for organizations from reports such as this? "You want it to be more expensive for the bad guys," he says. "You need to keep your stuff updated. People tend to install things and forget about them," Klijnsma says.

"Whatever's online immediately starts to go out of date. If you leave it on the Internet, it will be out of date in a few months," he says. 

Beyond up-to-date software, he says, "One golden rule is limiting exposure. Nothing goes accessible online until it really has to."

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