A new study estimates a $100 billion annual loss to the U.S. economy and as many as 508,000 U.S. jobs lost as a result of malicious cyber activity.

The study – Estimating the Cost of Cybercrime and Cyber Espionage – was produced through the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and was sponsored by McAfee.  

CSIS enlisted economists, intellectual property experts and security researchers to help measure the real loss from cyber attacks. Final figures ranged from $100 billion to $500 billion in losses. However, the CSIS cautions that cyber losses are often vague – it’s difficult to estimate what has been taken, intellectual property losses are difficult to quantify and the self-selection process of surveys can distort results.

CSIS classified malicious cyber activity into six areas:

  • The Loss of Intellectual Property;
  • Cybercrime;
  • The Loss of Sensitive Business Information, including possible Stock Market Manipulation;
  • Opportunity Costs, including Service Disruptions and Reduced Trust for Online Activities;
  • The Additional Cost of Securing Networks, Insurance and Recovery from Cyber Attacks; and
  • Reputational Damage to the Hacked Company.

A second report is forthcoming which will look at the ramifications of cyber security losses on the pace of innovation, the flow of trade and the social costs associated with crime and job loss.