CNET Reports that dealing with viruses, Spyware, PC theft and other computer-related crimes costs US businesses a staggering $67.2bn per year, according to the FBI.
The FBI calculated the price tag by extrapolating results from a survey of 2,066 organisations. The survey, released on Thursday, found that 1,324 respondents, or 64 per cent, suffered a financial loss from computer security incidents over a 12-month period.
The average cost per company was more than $24,000, with the total cost reaching $32m for those surveyed.
Often survey results can be skewed, because poll respondents are more likely to answer when they have experienced a problem. So, when extrapolating the survey results to estimate the national cost, the FBI reduced the estimated number of affected organisations from 64 per cent to a more conservative 20 per cent.
According to the 2005 FBI Computer Crime Survey: "This would be 2.8 million US organisations experiencing at least one computer security incident. With each of these 2.8 million organisations incurring a $24,000 average loss, this would total $67.2bn per year."
By comparison, telecommunication fraud losses are about only $1bn per year, according to the US Secret Service. Also, the overall cost to US citizens of identity fraud reached $52.6bn in 2004, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.
The FBI's next fiscal year, for which budgets must be reviewed and approved, begins 1 October. Protecting the US against high-technology crimes is third on the agency's list of priorities.