Finally, some statistics on the impact of cybercrime in Canada!

Claudiu Popa

By Claudiu Popa  

It’s about time. Since most companies do not benefit from security monitoring tools and technologies and many of those that do aren’t inclined to share their unfortunate events for fear of getting ridiculed at the playground, statistics on cybercrime and malware in Canada are few and far between. So kudos to Symantec for releasing some meaningful statistics on cybercrime in Canada and some global figures in general. 

And it’s been a worthwhile exposure effort. One day after the Norton Cybercrime Report’s release, the Internet was already teeming with superficial coverage of the contents. Most outlets are happy to report the big global number of $114 billion in losses for the past year. Personally, I like to have a deeper look. In this case, I’ll constrain my scope to the Canadian figures and try to put things into perspective. So here goes: 

  • 7.3 million people fell victim to cybercrime last year and at 20,000 new victims each day (14 per minute), that’s eventually adds up to some significant losses.

  • $840 million was lost and it is assumed to mostly be due to online scams and phishing which represent the second and third most prevalent types of cybercrime after malware

  • $4.7 billion was lost in productivity and remediation costs mostly due, ostensibly, to malware remediation and reactive measures. To put that figure into perspective, according to the OECD some $3.3 billion in productivity loss is due to Toronto traffic alone. However, to be fair, one of these two figures is more preventable than the other. 

I said that I’d stick to the Canadian figures, but some of the global numbers are difficult to ignore:  

  • The number of mobile phone vulnerabilities was up by 42 per cent probably because only 16 per cent have adequate security on their smartphones. This is likely to be the least precise figure, since mobile malware growth is far outpacing anyone’s ability to track its progress, so most infections go undetected and their impact is exacerbated by the fierce battle for smartphone marketshare.

  • 286 million variations of detectable malware are what your hard working anti-virus software is now trying to detect on a daily basis, so to put it into perspective, the 41 per cent of people who report not having adequate security are not only placing themselves at risk, but are a major reason behind the spread of a large amount of that malware 

A lot of effort went into comparing Canada to other countries, and to some degree, it’s a valid pursuit, but in many cases it’s just pointless comparative information, such as the fact that Canadians feel the same kind of anger at being victimized online as offline (73 per cent) as compared to the global average (68 per cent). Who cares! They should take that anger and apply it towards scrutinizing bank statements and updating their security software! 

About the author:
Claudiu Popa, is the founder of

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Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa is a security and privacy advisor to Canadian enterprises, associations and agencies. He is an author, speaker and lecturer. Connect with him on Twitter @datarisk, Facebook, G+ or LinkedIn.

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