Cost of Cybercrime Soars -- The Disruptors

PALO ALTO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- The cost to businesses of dealing with cybercrime is soaring, according to research released on Tuesday by HP ( HPQ) and the Ponemon Institute. The data highlights the scale of the digital threat facing corporate America.

The Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study, which surveyed 50 organizations across a number of industry sectors, found that the median cost of dealing with cybercrime was $5.9 million per year, a 56% hike on the prior year's survey. The cost of dealing with cyber attacks ranged from $1.5 million to $36.5 million, according to the latest results.

A spate of high-profile digital attacks against the likes of Lockheed Martin ( LMT), Citigroup ( C) Sony ( SNE), and even the CIA has raised the profile of cyber security. Cyber attacks are increasingly common for a host of companies, according to HP and the Ponemon Institute.

Over a four-week period, the organizations in the survey experienced 72 successful attacks per week, an increase of almost 45% from the prior year. More than 90% of the costs incurred as a result of cybercrime were caused by malicious code, denial of service, Web-based attacks and stolen devices, they reported.

The study also found that the average time to resolve a cyber attack is 18 days, with an average cost of $416,000, compared to 14 days and $250,000 in 2010's inaugural survey. The 2011 results also showed that a malicious attack conducted by an insider can take up to 45 days to contain.

"As the sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks increases, so too will the economic consequences," said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute, in a statement. "Figuring out how much to invest in security starts with understanding the real cost of cybercrime."

"Instances of cybercrime have continued to increase in both frequency and sophistication, with the potential impact to an organization's financial health becoming more substantial," added Tom Reilly, general manager of enterprise security at HP.

HP helps businesses tackle the threat of cybercrime namely via ArcSight, a maker of security management and compliance software that HP recently bought for $1.5 billion. HP CEO Leo Apotheker has also highlighted the security challenges of cloud computing, as the company eyes opportunities to boost its software business.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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