Cyberattacks cost global economy €5.5 trillion

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By 2030, a total of 125 billion devices could be connected to the internet, up from 27 bln in 2017, while 90% of people over six are expected to be online, according to the European Parliament.

Cyberattacks are getting more complex and costly.

The European Commission estimated the annual cost of cybercrime to the global economy in 2020 at €5.5 trillion, which is double that of 2015.

From cyberattacks on hospitals, causing them to postpone urgent medical procedures, to hacks on power grids and water supply, the EP said that attackers are threatening the supply of essential services.

And as cars and homes become increasingly connected, they could be threatened or exploited in unforeseen ways.

Cyberattacks are attempts to misuse information by stealing, destroying, or exposing it, aiming to disrupt or destroy computer systems and networks.

Attackers may use phishing websites and emails with malicious links and attachments to steal banking information or blackmail organisations after blocking their IT systems and data.

The 2019 Digital Economy and Society Index showed that security concerns limited or prevented 50% of EU internet users from performing online activities.

The 2020 index indicated that 39% of Europeans who used the internet experienced security-related problems.

Businesses and organisations in the EU spend significantly less on cybersecurity than their US counterparts.

“However, the damage caused by cyberattacks goes beyond the economy and finance, affecting the very democratic foundations of the EU and threatening the basic functioning of society.

“That is why the European Union has been working to strengthen cybersecurity.

“In May 2022, Parliament and Council negotiators reached an agreement on the NIS2 Directive, which are comprehensive rules to strengthen EU-wide resilience,” the EP said.