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The cost of a cybersecurity attack

The average cost of a cybersecurity attack has been increasing over time. The rewards to hackers in cyber heists have also been increasing, and this has been motivating them to come up with even better tools and techniques in order to allow them to steal more money and data. Several cybersecurity companies have listed their estimates for the average costs of cyber attacks in 2017/2018. The following are some of these estimates.

According to IBM—a tech giant both in hardware and software products—the average cost of a cybersecurity breach has been increasing and is now at $3,860,000. This is a 6.4% increase on their estimate for 2017. The company also estimates that the cost of each stolen record that has sensitive information in 2018 is at $148, which is a rise of 4.8% compared to their estimate for 2017. The following is IBM’s report (https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach) on the cost of a cyber breach in 2018:

This year’s study reports the global average cost of a data breach is up 6.4% over the previous year to $3,860,000 million. The average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information also increased by 4.8% year over year to $148.

For the estimates given throughout the book, note the following:

  • All of these estimates are done by companies with their own methodologies, so they may not be comparable to each other.
  • Some of them may have a bias towards painting a grim picture—the FUD tactic.
  • The figures are not from a governmental or not-for-profit source.
  • Not all breaches are reported, and not all reported breaches share detailed information. Hence, all of these reports make a lot of estimates.

According to Sfax, a fax-securing company for hospitals, the global average cost of a cybersecurity breach was at $3,620,000 in 2017. However, in the US, where there were more cyber attacks, the company estimates the average cost of each attack to be $7,350,000. The company places the global average cost for each stolen record at $141, while this is at $225 for US companies. Here’s the Sfax report (https://www.scrypt.com/blog/average-cost-data-breach-2017-3-62-million/) on the cost of a cyber breach in 2017:

The annual study reveals that the average cost of a data breach is currently $3,620,000 globally.

According to Accenture, the global average cost of a cybersecurity attack is much worse as, in 2017, it cost an average of $11,700,000. The company places the US average at $22,000,000, which is almost quadruple the Australian average of $5,400,000. Accenture was selective in the countries that it chose to calculate averages for; it selected 254 organizations from 7 countries, thus the averages they arrived at were quite high compared to other organizations. The following are the estimates on the cost of cybercrime in 2017 by Accenture (https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-cost-of-cybercrime-2017):

Cyber crime costs are accelerating. With organizations spending nearly 23% more than last year – US $11,700,000, on average – they are investing on an unprecedented scale.