Have businesses learnt from the rapid spread of cybercrime?

Have businesses learnt from the rapid spread of cybercrime?


The rapid propagation of cybercrime has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic since its full effect was first felt in March 2020.

How did we get to this inflection point? The first cyber-attack to hit the headlines in 1988 was inadvertently executed by Robert Tappan Morris – a student in the U.S. who wanted to develop a programme to assess the size of the internet. Unfortunately, his good intentions triggered the first Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack in history, which infected up to 60,000 computers – and saw him become the first person convicted under the 1986 U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Back in 1988, no one could have predicted that the exponential growth of the internet – and our reliance on it – would cause cyber-attacks to evolve from avoidable mistakes into the world’s biggest criminal growth industry. Fast-forward to 2019 and it was being estimated that cybercrime would cost us $6 trillion annually by 2021. So, when the pandemic struck with full force the following year, this already burgeoning industry went from strength to strength – because cybercriminals are opportunists.

The Covid-19 pandemic quickly escalated into a business opportunity for cybercriminals, who seized their chance to cash in on escalating uncertainty. The rapid spread of the virus globally created the perfect storm for these unscrupulous individuals: fear, uncertainty, vulnerability, large-scale remote working and increased online activity. So, they began exploiting these conditions by infecting businesses devices and compromising their data on a whole new scale. What happened next has been nothing short of astonishing – and the best way to fully appreciate the sheer scale of pandemic-fuelled cyber-attacks is to digest the stats.

It didn’t take long for cybercriminals to seize their