11 countries with most hackers and cyber criminals lose billions of dollars every year through online criminal activities. Online frauds, data theft, phishing sites and spam emails are just some of the activities that have, according to some estimates, cost the global economy staggering $445 billion. In 2012, the United States lost $1.2 billion on credit card schemes alone. Cyber criminal has become so rampant that loses from it have reached 0.8% of global GDP. That is almost as much as drug trafficking, estimated at 0.9%. Identity theft is also one of the activities that causes not just financial losses, but considerable amount of grief to those affected, as you can see in the list of 11 countries with the highest rates of identity theft in the world.
There are two main factors that make cyber criminals so successful and numerous. The first is the relatively low risk involved. Unlike other criminal activities, cyber criminals rarely, if ever, face a violent situation. It is highly unlikely that a hacker will be shot while performing the criminal activity. Also, due to an inherent characteristic of Internet traffic, the risk of getting caught is significantly lower than with traditional criminal. This is especially true for poorer countries on our list, unable to afford specialized high-tech police units to deal with hackers.
The other incentive is that hackers don’t need to invest in expensive equipment in order to engage in cyber criminal. Contrary to what Hollywood movies are telling us, most of the time an ordinary laptop and Internet connections are all that they need. This makes cyber criminal one of activities with the best ROI rate in the world.
When attempting to steal money or data, hackers usually go down one of two alleys, either social engineering or exploiting the vulnerabilities in the system. The first one exploits the human factor, which is often the weakest link in any security system. The other tries to take advantage of bad programming or implementation, by looking for holes left in the code. Both are equally dangerous and Kevin Mitnick, one of the world’s first hackers, has explained in his books that the best hackers often combine both methods.
One country is suspiciously absent from our list of 11 countries with most hackers and cyber criminals. North Korea doesn’t allow Internet connection to its citizens and the access to the web is limited to government agencies. A substantial number of cyber-attacks origins in North Korea, but since it is impossible to get any data on the matter, we omitted it from this article.