back to article 'Cybercrime exceeds drug trade' myth exploded

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    $1 trn is the street value.

  2. Bounty


    They must be including banking.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    The amount of Bullshit people are willing to spout just to secure a bigger budget!

    If the cybercrime market really is that big (even during a depression), then all of us are definitely in the wrong business.


    I suppose, given that EVERYTHING we do is using some form of techy gadget, then every crime that involves said gadget could be described as a cyber crime. Thus almost all crime is cybercrime - Criminals use email, mobile phones, digital cameras, laptops, digital tv, cars with GPS... damn, the list is endless...


    Maybe they should define "cyber crime" first; then affix a made up number to its costs.

  4. noodle heimer

    go ATT PHB morons!

    These are the same people who brought us "in 2012, one house will consume the entire bandwidth of today's internet" or similar twaddle.

    Curiously enough, these remarks always come out when they're in front of governments, hat in hand for dough for something.

    The bandwidth claim came as they were asking for (another) subsidy to build phone lines and networks, thereby being able to pocket 100% of the profit, rathe than a niggardly 80%.

    What were they asking for dough for here? Security measures already no doubt in place as a side benefit of the NSA data mirroring project - if you're going to do total traffic inspection, as they are in their joint venture with NSA, surely you can add the security layer to that. What are they, asking to be subsidized twice for that?

    I believe the Reg covered the earlier remarks, but for those who missed the article: ""In three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today." - Jim Cicconi, reported in

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trillion $ frauds

    "You'd have to be on something truly mindblowing to think that cybercrime revenues exceed the GDP of Saudi Arabia ($555bn in 2007), with all its oil income."

    To put this in perspective, Geithners plan could create about $8-12 TRILLION in US$ currency backed by toxic assets. (e.g. if he chooses 10:1 leverage and $1 trillion in money is used to inflate $2 trillion in assets, that's $8 trillion in fake money).

    So yeh, fraud, the non cyber kind is HUGE! So huge, they don't call it fraud they call it a bailout!


    As far as I understand it:

    Bank has a toxic asset, valued at $6m, but worth $2m in the market.

    Bank can't sell asset because it's true value would be apparent.

    Bank has loan against asset of $6m, i.e. $6m of $ currency is created backed by only $2m of assets.

    Treasury cannot let asset be devalued because size of US economy would shrink to reflect it's true value and Americans wouldn't like to be poor.

    Instead Taxpayer will take the risk of of toxic asset defaulting.

    Bids will be taken for toxic asset minus risk, to obtain an inflated unrealistic valuation.

    Fed will guarantee 85% (?) with tax payer paying half of the remainder.

    So suppose they get bids near the original unsustainable value of $6m.

    Asset is still worth $2m

    Investor pays just under half a million for it.

    Taxpayer pays just under half a million.

    Rest is a loan to taxpayer from Fed which is the money created against the asset.


    So there was a fake valued asset backing currency held by a bank, after the 'sale' there is a fake valued asset held by the Fed and ultimately backed by the taxpayer. Of course these toxic assets don't suddenly become valuable. So once the sales have gone through and all the toxic assets off the books of banks... then what?

    I wish Obama would get a grip on these idiots.

    See South Park Margaritaville for the most truethful analysis of the US situation:

  6. JeffyPooh

    "...sphere of human flesh..."

    If the human population continues to grow at the current rate, there will eventually be a sphere of human flesh expending through the galaxy at the speed of light.

    Such twaddle should mandate jail time for lying.

  7. david wilson

    Who pays these morons?

    >>""In our Q1 2009 report on cybercrime, for example, we revealed that one single rogueware network are raking in $10,800 a day, or $39.42 million a year," it said. "If you extrapolate those figures across the many thousands of cybercrime operations that exist on the Internet at any given time, the results easily reach a trillion dollars."

    Isn't that rather like saying:

    "We found some instances of food poisoning result in death. Even though we know full well that it's bollocks reasoning and a bogus result, since most people get food poisoning eventually, it must be the world's greatest killer.

    Not only *that*, but $10,800 a day is only £3.9m a year anyway.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Scaring the congress is not a good idea

    This'll no doubt raise alarm bells in their mis-informed heads and put the internet in lock-down mode sooner. *sigh*... who's going to stand up against stupidity.

    I despise the fact that stupid people can exist within an industry and still be near the top of the game with a voice. Why can people not sort out the fact and fiction and kick aware useless pile of junk. Statistics are made to work for those who made them. If any politician reads this. I hope they at least understand this point.

  9. Steve

    Isn't it obvious?

    (Number of pirate movies & tunes available worldwide) x (Apropriate RRP on itunes) = a trillion whatevers.

    BTWWTF is a Trillion anyway? As a logical thinker, I'm confused: isn't it the same as a UK Billion? (ie 1e12, or a thousand thousand million)? I'm still trying to get my synapses to bridge "Five Thousand Million" with "Five Billion".

    Up until recently, it's been like the difference between -40C and -40F, ie who cares? Consequently, the argument over how big the numbers are has yet to happen.

    My prediction: War, and calculators will get wider.

  10. Heff

    I make ten grand a day refusing to register winzip!

    we found one 'rogueware op' making 10 grand a day!

    if you _assume_ they stay in operation for an entire year... (you know, all those botnets and spamchannels for mail that stay viable for a year)

    if you _assume_ that all other 'rogueware', Virii, trojans, and worms generate 10 grand a day...

    then I can see how they make that fucking retarded number. and let me guess, they told these idiots this number whilst simultaneously asking for a much smaller figure to help combat it, or whilst lobbying for some sort of fubar legislation to stop all the awful people who use bittorrent (just think of a small, 2% tax on that $1trillion/year! why, we could pay for all the orphans to have new teeth/college/cookies etc)

    SSDD, jolly good show, carry on.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Finjan are talking rubbish.

    > "In our Q1 2009 report on cybercrime, for example, we revealed that one single rogueware network are raking in $10,800 a day, or $39.42 million a year," it said. "If you extrapolate those figures across the many thousands of cybercrime operations that exist on the Internet at any given time, the results easily reach a trillion dollars."

    That is SO not true. Actually, if you extrapolate those figures:

    1. You are perfoming an utterly bogus statistical fraud.

    2. Thousands of operations times millions of dollars per year per operation equals billions of dollars per year, not trillions, you are three orders of magnitude out.

  12. Tom

    1 trn? No problem

    If they are including the numbers that the record companies and movie studios clam they lost to downloads.

    Everyone likes pulling big numbers out of their ass to justify their actions or bonus check.

  13. Ru

    Yay extrapolation

    If you take my comfortable salary and extrapolate it out to a few billion people you'll see that most ofthe entire population of the world are reasonably well off.

    Similarly, extrapolating the nice roast I had earlier would suggest that the whole notion of 'famine' or 'starvation' is clearly a huge fraud. Maybe all these charities collecting for the so-called 'starving' are paying a load of those rich people though.

  14. John Smith Gold badge

    So the moral is..

    Extrapolating from a single data point can "Prove" anything you like. -> people who extrapolate from single data points are *not* to be trusted.

    Kudos to Richard Stiennon

    For nailing the source of this lump of BS. It's right up their with the Euro-bod who said child p0()n was 50% of all internet crime.

    If only Congress would pull up someone in the FBI who knows their stuff to confirm it, at which point they should hear what rubbish this is.

    Thumbs up for the research. Thumbs down if this nonsense continues to be believed.

  15. MinionZero
    Paris Hilton

    Bosses failing to see its their fault, so as usual everyone else suffers...

    Cybercrime does have a true cost. Its the money the music and film companies spend in marketing and PR to keep pushing ideas like this $1T sound bite. It works wonders as a lobbying tool and it has the potential for huge long term paybacks. That is if they can use it against the technologically ignorant political types, to make them believe the hype for the need for ever more Draconian monitoring of all media used ... all with a pay per view meter attached.

    Marketing people will tell you anything, if they think it will further their cause. They don't even care if its untrue as long as it sounds believable at the time its delivered, to give the required reaction from the people they market towards. In this case, the target market are the politicians and the music and film companies are lobbying for all they are worth.

    But then we are lead to believe (by more PR) that the music companies are struggling. Their sales are down. Could it be they don't make enough varied music people want any more? ... Could it be the relentless pace of consolidation of all companies including music companies means these ever fewer companies market fewer artists each year. To the point now, where we are brainwashed relentlessly on radio and other media's with the same few tunes for months. Could it be they are not providing enough new and are simply marketing to the younger gullible audience, with a banal over engineered plastic pop music, that plays to the lowest common denominator market segment and bores the majority of people senseless.

    Could it be the whole of mainstream media has become obsessed with irritating increasingly boring near talentless insecure attention seeking wannabe celebrities, who's only real talent is learning new ways to seek attention, because they were deprived of attention in childhood, so spend their adult lives relentlessly seeking attention. Only to then fall out of being in the mainstream media 15 minutes of fame window and so once out of the public eye, they go to pieces resorting to drink and drugs to suppress their ever present insecure longing for attention.

    Same story, time and time again. Why can't they see its all getting very very boring! ... no, its got to be piracy. It can't be anything wrong the companies are doing!

    So clearly we need Draconian monitoring of all media used. When the methods of any boss fails, they nearly always nationalistically assume its not their own actions at fault and that what they need is ever more control. After all, they are bosses and bosses become bosses to be the boss. They want to be in control and they want to extend that control to all of us in any form they can.

    Our society is dissolving into a nightmare ruled by the narcissistic self centred obsessive control freaks and the irritating insecure attention seekers and hybrid combinations of the two. There is more to life than the way these two obsessed groups want to behave. Market to groups other than these two obsessed groups (and the morons who follow them) and they will sell more. (Plus the whole of society would benefit from the reduction in the relentless marketing of these two obsessive (and ultimately both insecure) lifestyles).

    Paris, because lets face it, she and her friends perfectly highlight this behaviour.

  16. MinionZero
    Paris Hilton


    Doh typo/(click-on-ok-o? ... while hungry), Anyway, when i said, "nationalistically", I ment "narcissistically" .. i.e.

    What I was trying to say was ... "So clearly we need Draconian monitoring of all media used. When the methods of any boss fails, they nearly always narcissistically assume its not their own actions at fault and that what they need is ever more control. After all, they are bosses and bosses become bosses to be the boss. They want to be in control and they want to extend that control to all of us in any form they can".

    Could you alter this please in my previous post from a minute ago on this thread (if that possible?).


  17. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: typo,

    Sorry - can't edit comments. Can you imagine the outrage if we could?

  18. Jeffrey Nonken


    I expect it's a US trillion, which would be a thousand billion, which is a thousand million. So this trillion is a million million. Lots smaller than your UK trillion.

    And they say everything is bigger in Texas. Hah.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Follow the money

    Balance sheets of governments must be pretty skewed.. surely holes of trillions of dollars show up? I'm regularly read of the billions lost due to sickness, tardiness, leaving equipment on overnight, allowing employees to use the internet and charge their phones at work, and now this? And then of course there is the other billions missing due to drugs...

  20. Glenn Charles

    Cybercrime, Not Drugs

    I agree completely with the cops. Go after those evil people. Leave the stoners alone.

    ...Oops. May have shown my true colors there.


  21. Rob


    all these research companies talk nothing but unsubstantiated crap, made up out of random figures

    an article i read the other day claimed iphone users send emails on their phone more than users of other phones because of . . . the touchscreen keypad?!?! not the 'even my mums mums mum can do it and shes not actually breathing since long ago' simplicity of the email app itself then? and the fact it takes you by the hand thru setting up your account, and that you can spend half an hour putting the [very basic] info into a nokia and it still won't work properly, and even if it does, its a pain in the arse to use on a regular basis anyway, christ, the touch screen keypad is the one thing that puts me off writing an email on my phone!!!

    THATS why more people send emails on iphones, that and the fact that a higher percentage of the iphone user base are likely to use email, because the people who use email are those who are also more likely to have acquired an iphone

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I love the math

    At $39.42 million a year, you'd need 25,368 organizations operating at this level.

    Not very likely.

  23. Eddie Edwards

    Obligatory Dr Evil joke

    "Can you estimate how much cybercrime costs the US economy each year, Dr AT&T?"

    <finger in mouth>

    "One ... TRILLION ... dollars!!!"

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