Research uncovers estimated financial loss
Cyber criminals are estimated to be costing the world around £265 billion a year, according to research carried out by online security company McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The actual cost could be anywhere between £223 billion and £342 billion, with a significant proportion of that sum going missing from the world's four largest economies - the USA, China, Japan and Germany. The UK is thought to lose around £6.8 billion.
This figure includes losses incurred by intellectual property theft, financial cyber crime and access to confidential business information, as well as the cost of repairing the damage and putting new security measures in place.
Cyber crime is also thought to be costing hundreds of thousands of jobs, with 150,000 EU staff and 200,000 US workers finding themselves unemployed as a result of cyber crime.
Additionally, the report found that cyber crime accounts for around 0.8 per cent of global GDP, and takes away as much as 20 per cent of the internet's value.
Worrying future for emerging nations
While the larger economies of the G20 countries have so far borne the brunt of these problems, as more nations succeed in providing the internet as a basic service to their citizens, they will also be drawn into the problem.
As it stands, the economic growth of these developing nations may be held back as a result of cyber crime, which the CSIS says damages trade, competitiveness and innovation.
These findings arrive just months after the discovery of the Heartbleed bug, thought to be the biggest threat to internet security ever found.
Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "There is clearly an enormous amount of money being lost as a result of cyber crime, and it is particularly distressing when you see how many jobs have gone as a result."
"Of course, we have long been aware that these criminals are out there, so this research shows we need to keep improving our efforts to stay one step ahead."