According to a new report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), cybercrime rose substantially in 2018 resulting in $2.7B in financial losses. In comparison, cryptocurrency hacks stole nearly $1B globally in 2018.
In the FBI’s annual Internet Crime Report, the federal bureau received 351,936 complaints of Internet-related fraud, theft, and exploitation. The losses totaled some $2.7B in 2018.
The report covered every U.S. state and territory with victims of every age group. The most affected age group, however, were those individuals over 50.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has provided a list of common and current scams along with guidelines on how to best avoid them. The division hopes to expand its crime-prevention techniques to stop this explosive trend which has increased exponentially this year.
Cybercrime on the Rise
The number of losses to internet-related theft and crime has skyrocketed in 2018. From $1.4B in losses in both 2016 and 2017, 2018 saw an almost twofold increase to $2.7B.
However, the report fails to account for cryptocurrency hacks which have also been very active this year. According to blockchain security firm CipherTrace, hackers managed to steal around $1B from exchanges and other platforms in 2018. This number is expected to be much higher when individual scams are included.
Although it is unknown how many of these cryptocurrency-related hacks occurred in the United States, it is safe to assume that they made up a significant portion of cybercrime overall. One of the single most high-profile cybercrimes occurred in 2018 with a hacker managing to lift some $1M using just a San Francisco man’s phone number.
New blockchain technology promises a trustless system, but the consumer-end of things still leaves a lot to be desired.
There is ample potential for passwords to be breached, phones to be hacked, and general human error which could easily harm cryptocurrency users. Although two-factor authentication provides users with an extra layer of security, such protections remain limited due to possible smartphone breaches.
The immutable nature of blockchain transactions also means it is virtually impossible for funds to be recovered if hacked. This is why protections on the user level must be strengthened.
However, it seems that cybercrime, in general, is becoming more sophisticated which should cause worry for consumers across the board.
Do you believe that security on the user level for cryptocurrencies needs significant improvement? Have you noticed internet-related scams and thefts becoming more common? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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