‘For every dollar in the pocket of a cybercriminal, we spend sometimes 1,000 or even 10,000 dollars at preventing that crime, that money would be much better spend at catching and prosecuting the criminals.’ With those words Free Press Unlimited and Michel van Eeten, Professor Governance of Security at the Delft University of Technology, open the debate about the economic impact of cybercrime ahead of the Global Conference on Cyberspace, organised by the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 16 and 17, 2015.
In a ten-minute-long YouTube video, published today by the Internet Protection Lab and Free Press Unlimited, professor van Eeten dispels some common myths: ‘Cybercrime is growing but the rate of growth is proportional to the rate of growth of the online economy. The more we do our activities online, the more also crime is taking place in that environment.’
Moreover, most cybercrime dollars are lost to traditional forms of crime such as fraud with welfare payments, rather than to high-tech forms of cybercrime: ‘The idea that we are inundated with a tsunami of cybercrime is really incorrect. It’s much more the move of traditional crime that, much like the rest of society, is moving online.’
Ahead of the conference, policy makers and civil society should engage in a discussion about the best ways to combat cybercrime. Are traditional forms of crime perhaps best combated with traditional forms of crime fighting? In the words of professor van Eeten, the money we spend on antivirus software and public awareness campaigns ‘would be much better spend at catching and prosecuting the criminals.’
‘If you want to look at the economic impact of cybercrime, the largest impact is not so much the gains of the criminals but its actually the cost we put into defence.’
Free Press Unlimited
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Global Conference on Cyberspace
The Global Conference on Cyberspace brings together stakeholders from various backgrounds to discuss challenges in internet governance. Only by working together globally can we guarantee that the internet will remain free, open and secure.