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Brazil's Cybercrime Problem

Time to Get Tough

Internet users try a software which plays music with pieces displayed on the surface of the screen during the annual "Campus Party" gathering in Sao Paulo, February 13, 2008. Paulo Whitaker / Reuter

Brazil is at the epicenter of a global cybercrime wave. The country ranks second worldwide in online banking fraud and financial malware, and the problem is only getting worse. According to official sources, the number of cyberattacks within the country grew by 197 percent in 2014, and online banking fraud spiked by 40 percent this past year.

Yet much of the Brazilian public remains unaware of the scale of the problem. Policymakers are beginning to respond to the threat, but only in a piecemeal way. If Brazil is to successfully combat cybercrime, a much broader public discussion is required. Legislators, law enforcement agencies, businesses, civil society organizations, and private citizens all need to take cybersecurity much more seriously.

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The cost of cybercrime to the Brazilian economy is unclear. One report claims that data theft in Brazil accounted for $4.1 billion to $4.7 billion in losses in 2013. According to other sources, the equivalent of about $3.75 billion

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