F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen Talks Cyber Crime and Cyber Unicorns

Mikko_HypponenAt some point in the recent past — he is not sure exactly when — F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen coined the term ‘cyber crime unicorn’. His purpose was to highlight the growing professionalism of cyber criminals; and the term caught on. Now he has asked the question seriously: could a ransomware product actually be a criminal tech unicorn; that is, a start-up business valued at more than $1 billion? In a new article his short answer is No; but that’s only because it would be impossible for the founders to cash-out through the traditional IPO route. By most other yardsticks, cyber crime relates favorably to legal business. Consider one of today’s prime businesses, Uber. According to a Thursday report in Bloomberg, Uber is on course to recording a $2 Billion loss this year following a similar loss last year — and yet its latest valuation is $69 billion. Cyber criminals do not make losses.