Cybercrime in a recession: 10 things every CISO needs to know

Economic downturns force cybercriminals to change focus and encourage other people to resort to cybercrime. Here's how to prepare.

A hacker looks out over a city amid graphs of increasing trend lines and numerical rates.
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The world likely faces tough financial times ahead and perhaps even a major global recession. As economies stall, how will cybercriminals react? Will they change targets, techniques, or priorities? Will more people, whether inside or beyond your organization, present a threat?

Experiences and insights from past recessions can help us prepare for what's ahead.

Cybercrime flourishes in a recession

Cybercrime rose during the last recession in 2008. Regulatory Data Corp said it saw an average rise of 40% in cybercriminal activity for the two years following the recession’s 2009 peak. The UK Government recorded internet-enabled card-not-present fraud (transactions conducted over the internet) to the banks/payment card industry fell during the recovery period following the global crash, falling to £135 million in 2010 from a peak of £181 million in 2008.

In 2009, Reuters reported that internet fraud in the US rose 33% in 2008, while McAfee’s Virtual Criminology Report from that period suggest there was a large surge in malware, bots and Trojans around 2008 compared to the year before. While that trend hasn’t abated since, the change in the digital landscape presents greater opportunity for attackers.

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