Social Media Enabled Cybercriminals Generate $3.25 Billion Revenue Every Year: Report

Must Read

Net Worth Of Jeff Bezos Is More Than Combined Net Worth of India’s Top 10 Richest People!

Jeff Bezos and the phrase 'World's Richest Person' has become synonym to each other. But after the...

Search Engine Optimization In Digital Era: Look Beyond Traffic

Search engine optimization, aka SEO, plays a vital role in today's online world, especially if it's about...

After Banning Apps, India To Clamp Down On Startup Investments From China

The recent border conflict between India and China has led to the Indian Government to actively take...

A study called “Social Media Platforms and the Cybercrime Economy” commissioned by virtualisation-based security firm Bromium has confirmed that social media enabled cyber crimes are generating revenue to the tune of at least $3.25 billion every year globally.

Additionally, at least 20% organizations have been infected by viruses and malware spread over social networks. The report also revealed that more than 1.3 billion social media users have suffered privacy breaches by playing into the hands of such criminals in the last five years.

The Social Media Platforms And The Cybercrime 

The immense reach and the popularity of social platforms make them easy targets for hackers and cybercriminals. There are over 2.7 billion internet users, equals 70% of the world internet population, use social media channels on a monthly basis.


The six-month study conducted by Dr Mike McGuire, senior lecturer in criminology at Surrey University (UK), follows his earlier (April 2018) study in which he had concluded that cybercriminals actually earn more than most political leaders and university graduates.

The findings of the second instalment of the “Net for Revenue” sequence go on to highlight that various social networks- including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter- have become happy hunting grounds for cybercriminals.

The report was compiled on the basis of data shared by leading social sites, business and law enforcement agencies, interviews with the users of these platforms besides analysing the posts, comments and uploads thereupon.

The report published Tuesday draws readers’ attention to the fact that the availability of these platforms gives these scamsters the opportunities to “amplify, persuade and spread malware more quickly than email or other attack vectors.”

Instances of social media enabled crimes have grown four folds in the UK between 2013 and 2018 while in the US they have grown by more than 30,000% during the 2015-17 period.


Since 2016, there has been a 36% increase in cases where social sites were used for criminal recruitment. Wily criminals get through to individuals surfing these platforms by offering them huge amounts of money for short term roles.

“These platforms have brought money laundering to the kind of individuals not typically associated with this crime — young millennials and generation Z,” McGuire points out. “Data from UK banks suggests there might be as many as 8,500 money mule accounts in the UK owned by individuals under the age of 21, and most of this recruitment is conducted via social media.”

Almost half (45-50%) of data breaches during 2017-18 had their origins across social platforms, thereby underlining how threat actors today are exploiting the social media networks, much to the dismay of unsuspecting victims.

Rapid growth in cryptocurrency mining has also fuelled a 300 fold increase in such crimes during the last two years, pointed out the report. McGuire discovered that the number of miners affected by malware during the 2017-18 period had doubled.

11 of the top 20 global websites hosting cryptocurrency mining code are social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“Facebook Messenger has been instrumental in spreading cryptocurrency mining strains like Digmine,” writes McGuire.

The professor pointed towards an instance where a smart hacker took over UK based retailer Matalan’s Twitter account and tweaked it to resemble the electric car making company Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk’s account. The audacious criminal later sent out tweets asking for small bitcoin donations by promising to reward the donors later!

Other key findings of the report include that tools and services required to conduct such cyber frauds (including botnet hires and data trades) are widely available on 40% of these social sites itself. It also reveals that the distribution of credit card details alone fetches these criminals $630 million every year.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

The Leaked Video Of Pixel 5 Is Quite Revealing!

Google never stops to surprise us, and Pixel 5 is no different. A recent leaked video of...

A New Xiaomi 108MP Camera Smartphone May Debut Soon!

In November 2019, Xiaomi propelled its first smartphone with a 108MP camera. In the last six months, the smartphone major has launched...

Instagram Reels In India: A Possible Death For The Indian Alternatives Of TikTok?

After the Indian Government banned the popular short-form video app TikTok along with 58 other Chinese-origin apps, many ‘homegrown’ or Indian-made Tiktok...

How People Set Their Passwords: 123456 Is The Most Common One [STUDY]

Do you know why hackers quickly gain access to your system or online accounts? It's because the passwords are...

Will The Ban On TikTok Be Revoked?

The ban on TikTok is the talk of the town. All hell broke loose for Tiktok when the popular short-form video platform...

Global 5G Chipset Market: $22.41 Billion By 2026, Driven by 5G Smartphones

As the world has started shifting from 4G to 5G era, the global 5G chipset market has started attracting the eyeballs of...

In-Depth: Dprime

Will The Online Food Delivery Market in India End Up Becoming A Two-Horse Race?

It's pretty much evident that the food delivery space in India is all set to get riled up soon enough as one...

Fantastic 4: Four Day Work Week A Flashpoint Of Innovation?

It has been an idea that has been mooted by many, perhaps also somewhat sceptically. From being a dark horse to becoming...

TikTok Is Facing The Wrath Of People Who Love It The Most

Ever since the popular social media app TikTok entered India, it has been growing very aggressively in terms of users. Within a...

More Articles Like This