Trustwave SpiderLabs Uncovers Ov3r_Stealer Malware Spread via Phishing and Facebook Advertising. Learn More

Trustwave SpiderLabs Uncovers Ov3r_Stealer Malware Spread via Phishing and Facebook Advertising. Learn More

Managed Detection & Response

Eliminate active threats with 24/7 threat detection, investigation, and response.

Co-Managed SOC (SIEM)

Maximize your SIEM investment, stop alert fatigue, and enhance your team with hybrid security operations support.

Advisory & Diagnostics

Advance your cybersecurity program and get expert guidance where you need it most.

Penetration Testing

Test your physical locations and IT infrastructure to shore up weaknesses before exploitation.

Database Security

Prevent unauthorized access and exceed compliance requirements.

Email Security

Stop email threats others miss and secure your organization against the #1 ransomware attack vector.

Digital Forensics & Incident Response

Prepare for the inevitable with 24/7 global breach response in-region and available on-site.

Firewall & Technology Management

Mitigate risk of a cyberattack with 24/7 incident and health monitoring and the latest threat intelligence.

Microsoft Exchange Server Attacks
Stay protected against emerging threats
Rapidly Secure New Environments
Security for rapid response situations
Securing the Cloud
Safely navigate and stay protected
Securing the IoT Landscape
Test, monitor and secure network objects
Why Trustwave
About Us
Awards and Accolades
Trustwave SpiderLabs Team
Trustwave Fusion Security Operations Platform
Trustwave Security Colony
Technology Alliance Partners
Key alliances who align and support our ecosystem of security offerings
Trustwave PartnerOne Program
Join forces with Trustwave to protect against the most advance cybersecurity threats

What You Can Learn from the Ridiculous Money That Cybercriminals Make

Statistics abound regarding the cost businesses bear due to attacks and breaches, but arguably just as important is to quantify exactly how much criminals are banking as a result of their increasingly common trade.

The 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report, released on Tuesday, did just that. It documented that attackers launching a malware infection campaign could expect to earn a breathtaking 1,425% return on investment (ROI) - or $84,000 in revenue - over 30 days.

Given that finding, any doubt whether the cybercrime trade isn't one of the most flourishing and lucrative rackets going should now be erased. And perhaps calling it a racket fails to allot enough credit to the professionalism and orchestration of these heists, as well as the thriving nature of the criminal subterranean.

To calculate the average ROI that can be obtained by the manager of an infection campaign, our researchers accounted for four primary attack ingredients widely available for sale in underground web forums - and then what their cost would be to purchase and use over a month.

These comprised:

1. The Payload (such as ransomware or a trojan),

2. The Infection vector (typically automated emails that lead to an exploit kit),

3. The Stolen Web Traffic (visitors to compromised websites redirected to the exploit kit) and

4. The Encryption Functionality (to hide the payload from anti-virus detection).


Trustwave researchers then tabulated what criminals should expect to gain by fleecing their victims, based on market estimates.


Finally, researchers tallied the damage to derive an estimated ROI that the campaign's owner could be expected to take home over a 30-day period.


The summary above certainly doesn't do the calculation exercise justice, and we encourage you to read the full section detailing this research in the 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report - it's worth your time!

While the ROI gained is impressive, the primary purpose of this research is to encourage businesses to fully recognize just how much money drives this type of duplicity. As such, when attempting to deter financially motivated attackers from infiltrating one's organization, IT professionals must approach the challenge from a business perspective.

These types of adversaries are trying to collect the best possible ROI they can. This doesn't mean just cashing out once they've attacked, but being cost efficient from the very beginning. If they believe they are encountering a more rigid path of resistance from start to finish - meaning your efforts are attempting to chop away at their ROI - they may consider the effort not worth it.

A theme that the 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report attempted to convey is to think like an attacker. In much the same way businesses make decisions of how to grow their revenue (Which sales and marketing campaigns should we invest in? Which research and development should we conduct?), security requires a similar thought process.

Put another way: If you're asking yourself how to make it more difficult for your competitors to steal your customers, you also should be asking yourself how to make it more difficult for attackers to steal your data.

As an industry-leading Managed Security Services Provider, Trustwave can help you manage threats and vulnerabilities - as well as compensate for skills and resource challenges you may be facing - through services like Managed Security Testing.

Dan Kaplan is manager of online content at Trustwave and a former IT security reporter and editor.



Latest Trustwave Blogs

Defending Healthcare Databases: Strategies to Safeguard Critical Information

The healthcare sector continues to be a primary target for threat actors, with 2023 seeing a record number of data breaches and compromised records. While successful attacks are inevitable, it’s...

Read More

Trustwave SpiderLabs: Ransomware Gangs Dominate 2024 Education Threat Landscape

The security teams manning the defenses at the higher education and primary school system levels often find themselves being tested by threat actors taking advantage of the sector's inherent cyber...

Read More

LockBit Takedown: Law Enforcement Disrupts Operations, but Ransomware Threats Likely to Persist

The news that US, UK, and other international law enforcement agencies disrupted LockBit is welcome, as stopping any threat group activity is always a positive. The unfortunate aspect is this blow...

Read More