Cybercrime ‘a growing concern’ for Americans

Cybercrime is an increasingly pressing issue for many American citizens and organizations, according to a finance expert who pointed out that up to one billion data records were compromised in the US alone last year.

Sarbjit Nahal, managing director and head of thematic investing at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was quoted by Barron’s as saying that “Americans worry about falling victim to cyberattacks more than any other type of crime”.

This sentiment mirrors the thoughts of individuals taking part in a survey for Gallup towards the end of 2014.

This study put the theft of credit card data as the number one concern for Americans, followed by having a smartphone or computer attacked and information accessed.

Speaking as the Bank of America Merrill Lynch launched a new report on cybersecurity, Mr Nahal highlighted how widespread cybercrime has become in the US, which is having an impact on its citizens.

“There are 80 to 90 million plus cybersecurity events per year, with close to 400 new threats every minute, and up to 70 percent of attacks going undetected,” he said.

“All companies are being hit: finance and insurance is the most targeted sector, followed by ICT, manufacturing and retail. Cybersecurity has become a homeland security threat with rapid growth in attacks against critical infrastructure and manufacturing.”

There is ample data around that suggests that cybercrime, particularly directed towards US organizations, is a growing trend that does not show any signs of slowing down.

For example, a 2014 paper from the Ponemon Institute and HP reported that there had been a 96 percent increase in the cost of cybercrime on US organisations between 2010 and 2014.

Additionally, the ability to successfully respond to attacks has seemingly diminished, with the study finding that the time it takes to resolve an attack has risen by 33 per cent for the same period.

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