- You can file a cyber crime online with the FBI.
- California is home to the most cyber crime in the US.
- California has a GDP bigger than Canada.
Cybercrime is a real threat. If it does not target you, you may not think about it, but once it strikes in your midst, you start to get an idea of just how big the problem really is. According to the FBI, in the US, billions of dollars are now spent every year repairing computer systems that have been victims of cruel cyberattacks. Sometimes an attack comes from a rival business attempting to get ahead of their competition by sabotaging others’ digital systems. At other times, criminal gangs are searching for personal information from the general public by hacking into systems that contain this, such as those of a bank or a hospital. Last but not least, some cyber hacking is simply done by computer geeks hoping to gain some bragging rights. By hacking into a sophisticated information system these imps can show they are able to do it, and that holes do exist in important networks.
From the private sector to the public, to universities, companies, national infrastructure and home computers, cyber attacks hinder the ability of individuals and groups to function on large projects, complete daily tasks, and do business. Right now, the top ten US states with the most cyber attacks according to Statistica.com are California, Florida, Ohio, Texas, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Massachesetts. Here is a look at the three top states on this list in detail, what cyber crimes are going on, and why they are happening.
Top 3 States By Cyber Crime Losses
California is a bustling, busy state and as such, it is not a total surprise that it tops the list when it comes to cyber crimes in the US. According to NBCBayArea.com, the FBI received over 50,000 complaints about online crime in the Golden State in 2019. In total, the combined losses of these crimes are said to be over half-a-billion dollars.
Criminals are targeting California from all over the world. Organizations are said to be based as far away as Romania, Russia, Nigeria, and China.
What type of cyber crimes are taking place? Traditional phishing scams are a hot ticket in the Bay area, and the state is also dealing with high levels of SIM swapping, cryptocurrency theft, and celebrity account hacking. California is home to more cyber attacks than the bottom 27 states in the cyber crime rankings combined.
According to Vice.com, this state is a magnet for this type of criminal activity mainly for one simple reason: it is home to rich people and corporations worth a lot of money. One FBI investigation found that Bay Area criminals had stolen as much as $40 million from local victims in 2019.
While the criminal activity is wrong, some may argue that the state can afford it, however. California’s GDP is about $2 trillion, and as Vice.com points out, this actually makes it the eighth-largest economy in the whole world. This is bigger than Canada’s entire GDP, and also that of New York State, and oil-rich Texas. Crime goes where the money is, and this type is so invisible, it can be hard to prevent permanently.
The Sunshine State comes in second when looking at cyber crime victims. In 2017, this state was home to 21,887 complaints of cyber crime and Floridians lost over $110 million to cyber crime attacks in the same year. In 2018, that number rose to $178 million.
Identity theft is a biggie here. Miami leads the whole country on a per capita basis when it comes to identify theft complaints, with about 340 per 100, 000 residents.
According to a report in the Miami Herald, thieves in Florida often use this information to hack into government systems, and South Florida now has 46 times the amount of falsified tax returns compared with the national state average.
Why Florida has so much cyber crime has not been pinpointed by researchers. Part of it could be due to the money sitting in Florida, as in California. Florida has the 4th highest GDP as a state in the US. Another part could have to do with presidential elections. Florida is a swing state, and federal investigators have said they believe the state’s election system contractor was hacked by Russians looking to create trouble.
According to Jon M. Garon, dean and professor of law at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law, it is uncertain if this activity was aimed at altering electronic ballots cast by Americans, stealing voter’s personal information, or something else like shutting the whole election system down in this state. In 2016 another major cyber attack shut down the administration of state standardized tests. Whatever the case may be, Florida residents had better watch their virtual back in order to stay safe.
Ohio is the state with the third highest amount of cyber attacks in the US. Victims in this state run the gamut from local newspapers to businesses, government offices, police departments, healthcare, and individuals. Ohio does not have an enormously high GDP as a state, but it seems to be a target for some reason, and cyber crime there is on the rise. Local governments in particular are a target here, as well as public services. In 2019, hackers broke into Akron’s 311 system during a huge snowstorm and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 2019. Screens at the airport used to display baggage and flight information were hacked and disabled for days.
According to the FBI in 2018, 8,000 victims in Ohio lost over $97 million due to cyber crimes.
Cyber Crime Prevention
The FBI is working diligently at trying to prevent cybercrime in the US, as are local governments. Almost ten years ago California’s Justice Department created an eCrime unit to investigate cyber criminals. In Florida, public-private partnerships that fight cyber crime are a goal that Floridians hope will crack down on the revenue model of seeking ransom that fuels cyber crimes. Ohio has created a new cyber crime response unit to call upon when disaster strikes.
If you think you have been a victim of a cyber crime, report it to the FBI by filing a complaint online.
The 10 Most Cyber Crime Prone States
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