The Russian economy looks poised to lose $44 billion by the end of the year, all thanks to cybercrime. Sberbank, Russia’s top banking institution since 2014, revealed the estimates in a report on Tuesday, saying that cyberattacks significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic with the shift online. The majority of transactions took place over the Internet instead of cash, as lockdowns and health concerns massively reduced footfall in shops and businesses worldwide.
The state-owned bank, which boasts around $100 million customers, had an even gloomier outlook for 2021, predicting cybercrime may cause double the damage. Sberbank deputy chairman Stanislav Kuznetsov said that they deal with 26 billion cybersecurity incidents on average each day. The bank fell victim to a security breach in 2019, which resulted in the leak of customer data. Now, it shares its cybercrime-fighting expertise and knowledge with SWIFT, Interpol, and other organizations. The Russian Ministry of Interior stated in October that crimes related to bank cards surged by a whopping 500% in 2020, with Sberbank thwarting every cyberthreat that came its way.
Russian authorities arrested more than 30 suspects and charged 25 of them with credit/debit card data theft and selling. The culprits operated more than 90 fake online stores and used them to sell the stolen information. “In the last few years, Internet crime has seen a 16-fold surge,” Minister of Internal Affairs Alexander Kolokoltsev said during a meeting of the Ministry’s Social Council. However, He added that crimes in general, including felonies, have decreased in the country. Kolokoltsev continued that the cybercrime rise could be due to a lack of awareness of online scams and frauds.
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