The Real Reason Why Cybercriminals Steal

By David Edborg

Legend has it that when Willie Sutton, a prolific bandit in the US during the Depression era, was asked by a reporter why he robbed banks, his response was, “Because that’s where the money is.” Mr. Sutton was so good at robbing banks, that one biographer estimated that Mr. Sutton committed over 100 bank robberies and stole over $27 million in today’s dollars.

When I think about how much money Mr. Sutton stole and the number of robberies he committed, I can’t help but think of the similarities to the state of cybercrime today. Data is highly valuable, both to steal, or hold for ransom. As well, Cybercrime is rampant and the data held by IT in many cases is incredibly easy to steal.

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Part of the problem lies in how companies value data assets. The other is how we protect those assets. On the valuation side, organizations tend to think in terms of the cost of a breach, loss of business, or the loss of reputation. Cybercriminals on the other hand, value stolen data or data held for ransom in different terms.

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