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'Cybercrime exceeds drug trade' myth exploded

'Cybercrime exceeds drug trade' myth exploded
'Cybercrime exceeds drug trade' myth exploded 

By John Leyden
The Register
27th March 2009

A leading security researcher has unpicked the origins of the myth that 
revenues from cybercrime exceeds those from the global drug trade, 
regurgitated by a senior security officer at AT&T before Congress last 

Ed Amoroso, Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer of AT&T, 
told a Congressional Committee on 20 March that cybercrime was a $1trn a 
year business. It'd be nice to think that Amoroso had been misquoted or 
made a slip of the tongue but written testimony from Amoroso repeats the 
amazing claim, made before a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation Committee.

The end of paragraph 5 of the written submission states:

    Last year the FBI announced that revenues from cyber-crime, for the 
    first time ever, exceeded drug trafficking as the most lucrative 
    illegal global business, estimated at reaping more than $1 trillion 
    annually in illicit profits.

As Richard Stiennon points out the quoted figure would make cybercrime 
bigger than the entire IT industry. The top 10 Fortune 50 firms turned 
over $2trn last year.

Put another way, revenues from cybercrime exceed those of AT&T itself 
($119bn in 2008) by a factor of around eight.


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