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Annual revenue of cyber crime is 13 times bigger than Walmart’s

Hackers are collectively making more money than Walmart every year, according to a new report.

user icon Daniel Croft
Thu, 11 Apr 2024
Annual revenue of cyber crime is 13 times bigger than Walmart’s
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According to findings from a Statista Market Insights Survey through NordLayer, the bill generated annually around the world for cyber attacks reached as high as $8.15 trillion in 2023, more than the annual revenues of even the world’s largest corporations.

For example, if you added the annual revenue of some of the largest US companies such as Amazon, which makes $554.03 billion, Berkshire Hathaway, with $401.75 billion, Apple, with $383.28 billion, and UnitedHealth, with $359.98, you’d get $2.34 trillion. Cyber criminals collectively are earning over three times that.

Additionally, Walmart, which makes more than any of the above companies, with $638.78 billion annually, has a revenue that is roughly one-thirteenth of cyber crime revenue.


According to NordLayer, there are two key ways in which cyber criminals generate such large amount of funds – ransomware and the sale of stolen data.

Almost everyday, Cyber Daily reports on instances of both of these forms of cyber crime. The first involves a threat group or actor gaining access to a victim’s systems before stealing data, shutting down infrastructure, or encrypting data to prevent that business from operating properly or putting its customers at risk.

The threat group then demands that the organisation dish out a large ransom payment, and, in return, they will restore systems to normal.

Of course, to pay a ransomware gang its demands is to place trust in criminals, and in quite a few circumstances, paying a ransom does not result in system restoration, as was observed in the recent UnitedHealth breach when the ALPHV ransomware group ran off with a $22 million ransom payment.

The second attack form that cyber criminals use is the theft and sale of data. Like with ransomware, threat actors gain access to an organisation’s systems and steal data. This data is then advertised for sale on the dark web or even clear web hacking forums such as BreachForums.

Ransomware and data theft and sale often work hand in hand, with ransomware attackers resorting to the sale of stolen data when an organisation won’t pay up.

So why are so many individuals resorting to cyber crime? Well, according to NordLayer’s Carlos Salas, cyber crime has turned into a professional enterprise that has lower costs than many legal professions and much less risk than conventional kinetic crime.

The industry is so large that ransomware gangs and other hackers rent out their capabilities and infrastructure to others. Additionally, global political tensions result in state-sponsored hackers launching attacks on critical infrastructure providers and governments.

“Some still believe a typical hacker is just a guy wearing a hoodie in a dark room. But that isn’t true anymore. Cyber crime has evolved into a professionalised global enterprise with skilled hackers, nation-state-backed groups, and organised cyber crime rings working in tandem,” Salas said.

“With relatively low entry costs but higher income than traditional crimes, it’s no surprise cyber crime has become such an attractive criminal pursuit.

“There’s less physical risk than, say, burglary or armed robbery. With so much valuable data and systems to target across businesses, cyber crime has become a highly profitable illegal industry.”

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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