According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), South Africa loses 0.14 per cent of its gross domestic product to cybercrime activities which is about 5.7 billion rand.
(READ MORE: Threat of cybercrime in South Africa grows)
North America, Europe, and Asia lost the most, while Africa lost the least.
“There are strong correlations between national income levels and losses from cybercrime. It is not surprising to find that places with more money are more likely to be robbed if they are no more secure than places with less money,” said the report.
“Income levels are a good predictor of cybercrime, as wealthier countries (or firms) are more likely to be targets—it takes roughly the same amount of work to hack rich and poor targets, but rich targets produce a better return on effort.”
Conservative estimate puts the figure to 375 billion US dollars in losses, while the maximum could be as much as 575 billion US dollars.
“The cost of cybercrime includes the effect of hundreds of millions of people having their personal information stolen,” the report noted.
The CSIS notes that incidents in the last year include more than 40 million people in the US, 54 million in Turkey, 20 million in Korea, 16 million in Germany, and more than 20 million in China.
(READ MORE: Global businesses grow vulnerable to hacking)
One estimate puts the total at more than 800 million individual records in 2013. This alone could cost as much as 160 billion US dollars per year.
“Criminals still have difficulty turning stolen data into financial gain, but the constant stream of news contributes to a growing sense that cybercrime is out of control,” said CSIS.
The CSIS says cost of cybercrime will continue to increase as more business functions move online and as more companies and consumers around the world connect to the Internet.