Cyber crime costs the global economy between $445 and $575 billion every year, and the U.S. is getting hit the hardest, losing $100 billion each year. A new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, places cyber crime "in the ranks of drug trafficking in terms of worldwide economic harm."
The report, which received funding from security firm McAfee, is one of the first efforts to analyze the economic damage cyber crime has on the world's bottom line. The figures are just estimates, since companies usually fail to report losses and no centralized data collection agency exists.
Regardless, there are some alarming stats. For example, Germany, the United States, and China accounted for about $200 billion in losses last year due to the theft of intellectual property by foreign governments.
Stewart Baker, a study co-author said the losses will continue to mount. "The more that governments understand what those costs are, the more likely they are to bring their laws and policies into line with preventing those sorts of losses," he said.