Malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, the White House said Friday.

The estimate comes in a Council of Economic Advisers report on the impact of cyberattacks on U.S. government and industry. The report details the range of threats that U.S. entities face from actors including corporations and countries such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Simulation of someone using a computer to hack.
Usual suspects
U.S. entities face a range of threats from actors including corporations and countries such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, says a Council of Economic Advisers report issued Friday on the toll of cyberattacks. Bloomberg News


"Cyber threats are ever-evolving and may come from sophisticated adversaries," the council said in its report. "Due to common vulnerabilities, instances of security breaches occur across firms and in patterns that are difficult to anticipate."

The council's estimate represents between 0.31% and 0.58% of the 2016 U.S. gross domestic product. For comparison, the report cites a Center for Strategic and International Studies report that estimated the cost of malicious cyber activities against U.S. entities at $107 billion in 2013, 0.64% of GDP that year.

The industries making up the largest shares of GDP also saw the highest shares of security breaches in 2016, according to the report. This includes manufacturing, government, health care and finance. The finance sector had the highest number of breaches of all industries, with 471 in 2016.

The report also notes that because big cyberattacks could create knock-on effects throughout the economy, individual private firms are incentivized to “rationally underinvest in cybersecurity” relative to the collective threat it poses.

Bloomberg News