Writing about the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s annual threat report reminded us that it’s been a while since Crikey looked at the estimated cost of cybercrime, which some years ago we noted suffered from, shall we say, a certain elasticity. Some years ago, one prominent cybersecurity company released a report claiming the global cost of cybercrime was $1 trillion, then backtracked on it after much mockery.

So what are the current estimates of the cost of “the cyber” as The Donald termed it the other day? What the hell — let’s go for the top end. According to (inevitably) a cybersecurity firm, cybercrime has a global cost of not $1 trillion, not $2 trillion, but $3 trillion — and it will double to $6 trillion by 2021! Alas, not everyone has that many zeroes in their spreadsheet. That august body the World Economic Forum calculated the global cost of cybercrime at $445 billion earlier this year, less than one-sixth of our excitable friends at “Cybersecurity Ventures”. So take your pick there.

How about in Australia? Norton last year claimed that the cost was $1.2 billion — although another report claimed that identity crime alone was costing Australia $2 billion a year. But in 2011, Norton said cybercrime cost $1.8 billion in direct costs, so according to that company, there’s been a significant fall in the cost of cybercrime in the last five years, despite claims it is rapidly growing. Lucky there’s terrorism to hype.