By: Neal Ungerleider, Fast Company
For online security professionals, 2012 is turning out to be a banner year. Prominent hacks are taking place nearly every week. Credit card fraud and piracy on the Internet are booming. Hacktivist attacks against government computers and private companies are occurring almost daily. Big-name government agencies and businesses everywhere are shelling out for security assistance ... but for everyday Internet users, it's a giant headache with unclear risks.
The one thing no one is really able to explain is why cybercrime's booming. According to a recent Norton study, cybercrime cost the global economy (in both direct damage and lost productivity time) $388 billion in 2011--significantly more than the global black market for marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security have reported exponentially increasing demand for cybercrime assistance--something confirmed by this reporter in anecdotal discussions with online security experts.