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$12.5 billion lost to cybercrime, amid tidal wave of crypto investment fraud | #cybercrime | #computerhacker


If you have been optimistically daydreaming that losses attributed to cybercrime might have reduced in the last year, it’s time to wake up.

The FBI’s latest annual Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report has just been published and makes for some grim reading.

According to the IC3 report, online fraud hit record losses in 2023, with the American public reporting US $12.5 billion, a 22% increase from the year before. However, this only counts reported crimes to the FBI. The true figure is likely to be much, much higher.

So, what are some of the main takeaways from the report?

Ransomware

I’m sure this won’t surprise regular readers, but the number of reported ransomware intrusions rose 18% to 2,825 (approximately 8 per day), with claimed losses growing by 74% to US $59.6 million.

Included in IC3’s stats are 1,193 complaints from critical infrastructure organizations, with healthcare and public health being the hardest hit.

As reported to IC3, the five top ransomware variants in 2023 were LockBit, ALPHV/BlackCat, Akira, Royal, and Black Basta.

Recent law enforcement action may have disrupted some ransomware groups, but it’s likely that other cybercriminal gangs will take their place.

Tech support scams and government impersonation

Thousands of individuals have also fallen foul of scams where the fraudster pretends to work for a customer support helpdesk or government agency, typically targeting older adults and stealing over US $1.3 billion.

IC3 says 40% of the complaints it receives of this type of scam are from those aged over 60, accounting for over US $700 million of losses. Some victims have found themselves penniless after losing their life savings.

Investment scams

The report reveals that more money is lost to investment scams than any other cybercrime category.

Between 2022 and 2023, investment fraud rose 38% from US $3.3 billion to $4.57 billion – making it responsible for more reported losses than Business Email Compromise, ransomware, or tech support scams.

Of that US $4.57 billion worth of investment fraud, a staggering $3.94 billion is related to cryptocurrency (a rise from $2.57 billion in 2022).

This rising tidal wave of cryptocurrency scams comes despite the FBI’s warnings about the techniques criminals use to trick the unwary into making an unwise investment.

As we have previously reported, “pig butchering” is one of the world’s fastest-growing types of scams. Criminals trick victims into an online romance, often making the initial approach via a dating site or an unsolicited message. They build trust over weeks or months before ultimately convincing their target into making an unsafe cryptocurrency transaction.

Report cybercrime incidents

The FBI asks cybercrime victims to report incidents to the IC3. This helps law enforcement gather intelligence, bring criminals to justice, and helps to better protect everyone else on the internet.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire.

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