Quiz question — which is the world’s third-largest economy? Hint — it’s not a country.

Cybercrime, that scourge of the virtual world, is now worth an estimated $6 trillion ­— making it the largest economy in the world after the US and China, according to data from Protiviti, a global consulting firm.

“Over the last few years, globally cybercrime costs have been steadily increasing by 12-15 per cent annually,” Niraj Mathur, Managing Director, Security and Privacy Practice, Protiviti Member Firm for Middle East, told Khaleej Times in an interview.

Protiviti delivers deep expertise, objective insights, a tailored approach and collaboration to help leaders face the future. Protiviti and its independent and locally owned member firms provide clients with consulting and managed solutions in finance, technology, operations, data, digital, legal, governance, risk and internal audit through its network of more than 85 offices in over 25 countries.

Named as one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list in 2022, Protiviti has served more than 80 percent of Fortune 100 and nearly 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The firm also works with smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies. Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half. Founded in 1948, Robert Half is a member of the S&P 500 index.

With the onset of Web3.0 and widespread adoption of digital transformation, usage of internet based services is expected to grow exponentially, as it brings various benefits such as optimisation or reduced costs Mathur said. “However, organisations must balance these advantages with carefully planned transition strategies that take security and privacy into consideration. This means that while evaluating vendors for hosting internet-based services, ensure that appropriate level of security is designed, considering all aspects from identification, detection, prevention, responding and recovering from security incidents,” he added.

New technologies or services introduce new cyber risks which need to be assessed, prioritised by impact analysis and mitigated through process, technology, skills and governance perspective.

Cybercrime increased significantly as the pandemic led to increased remote working, many organizations globally were not optimally ready for such situations and the industry saw almost a quadruple increment in the number of attacks, according to Protiviti data. “In today’s hyper connected world, its true that cybersecurity is as much a threat to individuals as it poses for organizations. Social engineering is at an all-time high and a very proven technique to gain sensitive information or siphon your hard-earned money,” Mathur said.


1. Risk Led approach – Think of potential impact before providing any sensitive data or clicking on that mildly suspicious link.

2. Use Federated Identity where possible – Many tech giants today provide tools to all individuals to use their federated identity to increase security for individuals which is better than remembering hundreds of passwords, as an example using Google or Apple sign into other websites using multi factor authentication.

3. Limit data sharing – Heavy usage of cloud data storage has incredible benefits but its equally critical to ensure that we limit the sharing of data to specific periodicity and specific people.

4. Secure your Smart Devices – Smart devices e.g. smart TVs, smart watches, smart IOT etc are incredible in enriching our experiences but also mostly set to basic security configurations often utilized by attackers to gain sensitive information or intrude your privacy.

5. Spread the culture of cyber security – to help spread awareness to people around us so we can be vigilant together.

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