Network Attacks: Analysis of Department of Justice Prosecutions 1999 – 2006

A landmark study on Department of Justice network crime prosecutions reveals most attacks used stolen IDs and passwords, resulting in far greater damages to affected organizations than previously thought: up to $10 million per occurrence and on average more than $1.5 million per occurrence.

Previous studies on the financial damage of computer crimes used surveys of affected organizations, leading to often-questionable data and conclusions about such crimes. This new study conducted by research and advisory firm Trusted Strategies analyzed data validated by the legal process of all cases prosecuted and publicly disclosed by the Department of Justice between March 1999 and February 2006.

Among the additional key findings of the study:

  • Average financial loss was more than $3 million per case.
  • Although the global damages of viruses can be high, the average cost to an individual company from any single virus attack analyzed in this study was surprisingly low, at $2,382.
  • The crimes hit most sectors of the U.S. economy, including government, technology, online retail, financial services, communications, education, manufacturing and healthcare.
  • Attackers logging onto privileged user or administrator accounts where a small number of authorized computers were sanctioned to perform work caused the most damages.

Download the paper in PDF format here.

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