CYBERCRIMINALS ARE living the high life. Not exactly news in itself, but according to new research from security firm Bromium, even a mid-range cybercriminal can earn twice the annual salary of the US President. ('Sad!').
A top-tier cybercriminal can earn $2m (£1.4m) per year - that's as much as an FTSE250 CEO, whilst the mid-rangers earn about $900k (£639k). Even an entry-level criminal earns about $42k (£30k) which is about the same as a struggling tech journalist.
The research was carried out by Dr Mike McGuire, a senior lecturer in Criminology at the University of Surrey. He's presenting the full research paper in San Francisco later in the month.
In the meantime, the statistics break down exactly what they are spending money on too.
It finds that one in five spend their money on drugs and hookers, whereas just 15 per cent spend it on essentials like bills and baby care.
The same amount (15 per cent) spend their earnings on status symbols such as jewellery. 30 per cent convert it into investments, be it property, share portfolios or more esoteric (and untraceable) elements like works of art or wine.
20 per cent said they reinvested part of their money into further criminal activities such as buying better IT equipment.
The study also points out that the rise of cryptocurrencies has made it easier to avoid investments being tracked, and indeed made it easier for money to be laundered.
"Every time someone pays a ransom, they are participating in The Web of Profit," says Gregory Webb, CEO of Bromium.
"Cybercrime is a lucrative business, with relatively low-risks compared to other forms of crime. Cybercriminals are rarely caught and convicted because they are virtually invisible. As criminals further monetize their business allowing anyone to buy pre-packaged malware or hire hackers on demand, the ability to catch the king-pins becomes even more challenging.
"The cybersecurity industry, business and law enforcement agencies need to come together to disrupt hackers and cut off their revenue streams. By focusing on new methods of cybersecurity that protect rather than detect, we believe we can make cybercrime a lot harder."
The full report will be made available on 20 April and you can reserve a copy here. µ
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