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 week.
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.[...]