Cybercrime is expected to cost the global economy more than $1 trillion this year, up more than 50 per cent since 2018, a US research report said on December 7.

The report by McAfee Corp with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) concluded that the cost of online criminal activity is more than one per cent of global economic output, and also had significant non-monetary impacts.

The researchers noted a surge in a range of attacks including ransomware, phishing, business email takeovers, spyware and cryptocurrency theft.

Some of the increase can be attributed to weaker security with more people working remotely outside their workplace.

McAfee chief technical officer Steve Grobman said: “The severity and frequency of cyberattacks on businesses continues to rise as techniques evolve, new technologies broaden the threat surface and the nature of work expands into home and remote environments.

“While industry and government are aware of the financial and national security implications of cyberattacks, unplanned downtime, the cost of investigating breaches and disruption to productivity represent less appreciated high impact costs.”

The report was based on a survey of 1,500 technology professionals in government and business in the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Australia.

The impact of cybercrime includes the loss of intellectual property and monetary assets as well as system downtime and damage to an organisation’s reputation, according to the report.

The researchers wrote: “It is no secret that cybercrime can harm public safety, undermine national security and damage economies.

“What is less well known are the hidden costs that organisations may not be aware of, such as lost opportunities, wasted resources and damaged staff morale.”