Flipping the board on hackers Part 2: The price of cybercrime

In this two-part series, we'll examine the kinds of information cybercriminals are after, what value that data has and how enterprises can turn the tables on hackers.

We’ve all been there at least once: During a spirited game with a less-than-enthusiastic opponent, you gain the lead. Then, just when you can taste victory, your challenger decides he can’t handle the loss and flips the board, sending pieces flying and ending the game.

While this certainly isn’t fun for anyone, in another setting, it could provide the needed competitive edge. When it comes to cybercrime, hackers don’t play fair. And sometimes, one’s only option is to flip the board to keep customer information safe and protect the business.

“When it comes to cybercrime, hacker don’t play fair. And sometimes, one’s only option is to flip the board to keep customer information safe and protect the business.”

In the first part of this series, we took a look at just what hackers are after when they breach a business. Now, we’ll examine the price that data can carry and how companies can flip the board on attackers.

Cybercrime’s price tag 
Information stolen from corporations can be incredibly valuable. According to Rod Rasmussen, security expert and Internet Identity president and CTO, customer details are so prevalent, a single record usually sells for less than one dollar.

“There’s so much data flowing around, you have to have lots of it in order to get money for it in the underground,” Rasmussen said. “Even credit card numbers are going for under $1.”

But let’s think about this. If a hacker attacks a single business and is able to make off with millions of records – similar to a number of real-world attacks that have taken place – the numbers add up faster that you’d think. For example, if a cyberthief broke into the network of Business X and stole the data of 25 million customers, they could easily sell 5 million emails at a nickel per address. Suddenly, they’ve made $250,000 from a single attack.

This kind of thing happens on a near-daily basis. In fact, researchers from McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimate that on a global scale, cybercrime costs anywhere from $400 billion to a staggering $575 billion a year. That’s billions, with a B.

Flipping the game board
Okay, we get it. Cybercrime is a real threat that has the potential to wipe out a business in a single bound. But let’s get back to the original point here – There are ways for companies to flip the game board on hackers before these thieves ever have this valuable information in their crosshairs.

Every company has data  – that’s what makes them a target for cybercrime in the first place. But what if administrators used this information to their advantage to stop hackers in their tracks? It’s a strategy called big data security intelligence, and it provides a way for enterprises to turn the tables on hackers.

Hackers these days have all kinds of tips and tricks in their arsenals. So businesses can’t just erect a firewall, install an anti-virus program and call it day. They must ensure better data management and be proactive in their pursuit against cybercrime.

When it comes to flipping the board, data management is key. Keeping a watchful eye over the information in the company’s database is akin to baiting the bear trap. With proper monitoring over activity and access logs, businesses are able to spot suspicious actions that hail the beginnings of a breach and throw down the spike strips to stop hackers in their tracks.

Remember those old cop shows, where on the especially tough cases, the brooding detective always says that he has to think like a criminal in order to catch them? The same strategy can be applied here. Security solutions provider Malcovery noted that monitoring attacks in real time and stopping them before they cause real damage can help administrators better understand their cybercriminal adversaries.

“Enterprise security intelligence helps you understand key information about the cybercriminal, specifically those who are repeat offenders,” Malcovery stated. “The data can lead you straight to the criminals identity, giving law enforcement the information that it needs to stop him in his tracks.”

In these respects, top-tier data management is key. With a best-in-class, end-to-end data management system in place, corporations have all the tools they need to flip the board on hackers, sending them scrambling for their game pieces as sensitive data remains secure.


Cybercrime costs up to $575 billion each year.