Cybercrimes Skyrocket In United States


UPDATED: Thursday May 29, 2014 4:10 AM

CNN - There's a reason cybercrimes have been making more headlines recently.

New data indicates that nearly half of American adults have been hacked in the last 12 months and that cyber criminals are gaining the upper edge against corporations.

In partnership with the Ponemon Institute, CNN Money released a report Wednesday revealing that hackers made away with the personal information of 110 million Americans, or 47 percent of American adults, over the past year. According to CNN Money, this includes data such as one's "name, debit or credit card, email, phone number, birthday, password, security questions and physical address."

"It's becoming more acute," said Ponemon Institute head Larry Ponemon. "If you're not a data breach victim, you're not paying attention."

The number of hacked accounts is even more astonishing: 432 million.

CNN Money does state that the numbers don't paint the whole picture due to the fact that companies like AOL and eBay (both experienced data breaches affecting more than 100 million accounts) aren't completely transparent.

There are two reasons for the increasing rate of cybercrime, CNN Money says. One reason is that more of peoples' lives are online and the other is that hacking has become more sophisticated.

"Now attackers are very focused," said Brendan Hannigan, who security systems division leader at IBM. "There are teams of them, and they create malware to attack specific organizations."

Another study released by business consulting firm PwC Wednesday shows that corporations think hackers are gaining the upper hand in the cyber arms race. The report found that the companies surveyed experienced an average of 135 cyber intrusions over the past year, with the average annual monetary loss hitting $415,000.

"Cyber criminals evolve their tactics very rapidly, and the repercussions of cybercrime are overwhelming for any single organization to combat alone," said David Burg, PwC's Global and U.S. Advisory Cybersecurity Leader.

"It's imperative that private and public organizations collaborate to combat cybercrime and gain intelligence about security threats and how to respond to them. A united response will prove to be an indispensable tool in advancing the state of cybersecurity."

The report identified eight key deficiencies in firms' cybersecurity strategies:

    1) Most organizations do not take a strategic approach to cybersecurity spending

    2) Organizations do not assess security capabilities of third-party providers

    3) Supply chain risks are not understood or adequately assessed

    4) Security for mobile devices is inadequate and has elevated risks

    5) Cyber risks are not sufficiently assessed

    6) Organizations do not collaborate to share intelligence on threats and responses

    7) Insider threats are not sufficiently addressed

    8) Employee training and awareness is very effective at deterring and responding to incidents, yet it is lacking at most organizations

The study was the effort of PwC, CSO magazine, the CERT Division of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and the U.S. Secret Service.