China and the United States were the top sources of global hacking attempts according to a new report from IT assurance firm NCC Group.
China and the US accounted for 38.3 per cent of global hacking attempts, successful or not, which the NCC said cost the global economy over US$44 billion. Five of the top ten hacking countries were in Western Europe.
Italy, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and Germany accounting for nearly 200 million attempted hacks, costing the global economy an estimated $16 billion. They trailed Russia, the world’s number three source of hack attacks.
"Reading the papers each day, it’s easy to think of hacking as something that happens to us from afar; that we’re victims of foreign criminal gangs in developing countries," said NCC boss Rob Cotton.
"Yet hackers can be anywhere in the world, as our research illustrates, including on our own doorstep."
The UK was nowhere to be seen in the top ten but nevertheless NCC said that hacks originating in the UK cost the global economy over $2 billion in 2011.
NCC appeared pessimistic that global efforts to crack down on hackers would stem the tide.
"I’m certain that when we look at these figures again the number of hacks and the cost to the global economy will have increased," said Cotton. "I’m less certain that progress will have been made in the global battle against these hackers."