Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Drug Traffickers: Cybercrime Isn’t That Lucrative

Better stick to what's tried-and-true.

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Cybercrime! We’re basically living through the digital equivalent of Prohibition, right? Well, a couple of researchers would like to quash everyone’s mental images of Scarface but with credit-card databases instead of blow.  Having run the numbers, researchers Dinei Florêncio and Cormac Herley took to the New York Times opinion page to trumpet their doubts:

One recent estimate placed annual direct consumer losses at $114 billion worldwide. It turns out, however, that such widely circulated cybercrime estimates are generated using absurdly bad statistical methods, making them wholly unreliable.

Now, they’re not denying that cybercrime is a serious problem and, more to the point, a major pain in the ass. It’s just not the criminal gold mine it’s often portrayed as. In other words: “Cybercrime billionaires are hard to locate because there aren’t any.”

So what you’re saying is that we shouldn’t expect a Michael Mann movie to come out of last year’s Sony Playstation breach?