The cost of cybertheft to US economy

by Chris Zappone

A new estimate of the cost of cyberattacks puts it at about 1 per cent of the nation’s GDP, with the caveat that the cost could be higher depending on the impact on high-end manufacturing and innovative jobs.

 

Lewis and co-author Stewart Baker, a distinguished visiting fellow at CSIS, said that they were still working to determine cybercrime’s impact on innovation. They suggested a follow-up report might come out with a bigger number.

 

But preliminarily, they found U.S. losses to be somewhere between $20 billion to $140 billion, or about 1% of the nation’s GDP. They pegged job losses at 508,000.

 

What I find troubling is that if online espionage is a central stumbling block between the US and China, why is the US relying on research from the McAfee? No offense to McAfee, but we’ve all seen the impact of the private sector on US foreign policy – look no further than Booz Allen Hamilton’s most infamous ex-employee, or cast your mind back to Blackwater and Haliburton plundering the US defense budgets during the Iraq War/gravy train.

If the US is going to say economic espionage is a major issue, it needs to make sure the source of crucial research doesn’t have a conflict of interests. The estimate of costs need to come from an impeccable source, not to convince the Chinese, who won’t listen anyway, but to convince the US taxpayer, who is expected to foot the bill for defense of the same companies that have by and large disregarded the common good of the US citizen over the past few decades.