Skip to main content

One trillion dollars lost to cybercrime last year, but how big is the risk to everyday Americans?

One trillion dollars lost to cybercrime last year, but how big is the risk to everyday Americans?
(Image credit: Getty)

They say that crime doesn’t pay, but it looks like cybercrime is certainly making some people pay, as a recent study has estimated that cybercrime costs the world more than a trillion dollars. 

This comes off the back of a report by McAfee, which was further analyzed by AtlasVPN. This Hidden Cost of Cybercrime report goes into more detail about where that money is coming from and disappearing to. According to AtlasVPN’s numbers, the world lost $945 billion to cybercrime last year, while it spent $145 billion on cybersecurity trying to defend itself. Combine those numbers and you’re left with just over one trillion dollars down the drain - that’s 1% of the entire global GDP.

Now, while this might sound terrifying to the average person reading this on their laptop or smartphone, please resist the temptation to to hurl your phone into the ocean and move into the mountains. The vast majority of this money is actually being lost by businesses and corporations, with economic espionage and IP theft being the biggest offenders.

With that said, it’s important to be cognizant of the risks involved in your everyday online life, and to take appropriate precautions. Financial fraud is still an enormous risk to everyday consumers who are shopping, banking, and using social media and it can happen to anyone. That’s why we’d highly recommend looking at your cybersecurity setup for your computers and mobile devices.

Internet security cyber crime hackers antivirus

(Image credit: Getty)

The best internet security software is the first place to start looking. These are relatively all-encompassing software suites that cover you against a range of threats. They combine the best antivirus software with firewalls, additional layers of ransomware protection, and often come with access to a VPN too. 

VPN services let you stay anonymous online by encrypting your signal and bouncing it off other servers around the world. This means that websites and hackers can’t tell where, or who, you are. They’re also useful for accessing region-locked content on websites like Netflix too - very handy if you’re on holiday and need to keep up with your favorite show.

Keep on top of your cybersecurity needs and make sure you’re not part of that one trillion dollars next year. Speaking of one trillion dollars...

Everyone knows that one trillion is a very big number, but it’s so big that our brains really have no way to contextualize just how big it is. So, to help put the numbers into perspective, here’s some fun math on just how much money that is. If you drive down to your local McDonalds right now and slap down a one trillion dollar bill, you’ll get 250,626,566,416 Big Macs at their current price of $3.99. McDonalds makes around 2,360,000,000 burgers per year though, so at current capacity it would take every McDonalds in the world working together 106 years to fulfill your order. So, maybe order a starter or something while you wait.

Ian Stokes is a writer with a varied background - from academic publishing through to video games journalism. In fact the only thing he doesn't enjoy writing about is himself.