Cyber crime black market almost as big as illegal drugs industry now

Crime is all around us. But while you might most readily associate the word “crime” with having your purse/wallet snatched or being mugged, you are much more likely to have your pockets picked online.

According to Rasmussen College, whichgrabbed research to compile the infographic below, 15 percent of people experienced a “real-world” crime in 2011, compared with 44 percent who were affected by cyber crime. Indeed, 69 percent of people alive today have been touched by cyber crime at one point.

One of the major selling points of criminals who are taking their “business” online, is that it is a business. Your personally identifiable information earned hackers around $388 billion last year, which is on par with how much money is made from trafficking and selling illegal drugs — a $411 billion industry in 2011.

Various risky behaviors contribute to your vulnerability, and most of them are obvious. Looking at porn is much more likely to expose you to unsafe links. Using free Wi-Fi also exposes you to a system with weaker protections. Lying about your personal information online, however, is risky behavior as well. Many would think making up a fake name would protect you if your information was ever exposed, but Rasmussen College says differently:

“Based off of the other statistics around that one, I think it speaks to our browsing habits if we can be identified,” said Jacob Sorem, information systems management coordinator for the School of Technology and Design at Rasmussen College, in an e-mail to VentureBeat. “If I am known, I will likely only go to news sites, sports sites, etc. If I think I can be anonymous, I may go places that are more embarrassing or seedy, like adult sites or places to get illegal downloads of music and videos. These seedier places are also fervent grounds for malicious software (malware) and viruses.”

Check out the infographic below for more:

Rasmussen Cyber Crime Infographic
Robber image
via Shutterstock

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