A report just issued by information-security analyst firm, Cybersecurity Ventures, estimates that cybercrime will double within just five years, reaching $6-trillion annually by 2012, up from an expected $3-trillion this year.
The new report, entitled Hackerpocalypse: A Cybercrime Revelation, also notes that nearly half of all cyber-attacks being launched today target small businesses. (To learn how to better secure your small business please see the article, 13 Tips to Achieve Great Cybersecurity Without Spending a Fortune.)
Losses to cybercrime include not only stolen money and information, but the cost of addressing damage and destruction to systems and data, as well as lost productivity, reputational harm, and other harm inflicted by criminals operating online.
One of the reasons that cybercrime damage is increasing rapidly is that there are an increasing number of "things" that are now computerized and/or connected to the Internet; a decade ago nearly all cyber-attacks targeted computers and network equipment, today smartphones also make ideal targets, as do the rapidly growing number of connected "Internet of Things" devices. Our parents did not need to worry about their first cars being hacked, for example, our children certainly will need to.
Other key findings from the report include:
- Due to an expected dramatic increase in the number of people and devices connected to the Internet, by 2020 civilization will need to protect 50 times more data than it does today.
- The world's cyber-attack surface - that is, the number of points at which an attacker could potentially attack and penetrate - is expected to grow ten times larger over the next five years.
- Despite valiant efforts by many governments around the world, and occasional arrests, it can be reasonably argued that there is no effective law enforcement against financial cybercrime today.
- There is a severe cybersecurity workforce shortage, with about one million unfilled information security jobs - and the shortage is getting worse with time, not better. As a result, at least in part, corporations are increasingly turning to third party data breach and incident response firms, and Managed Security Service Providers, for help with cyber-defense.
- Businesses and governments are increasing security awareness training for employees; the focus on the human role in information security is expected to grow, and become a more integral component of enterprise cybersecurity strategy by 2021. (As I have mentioned before, due to security technology improvements rapidly outpacing the evolution of the human brain, people are increasingly becoming the weak link in the security chain -- which is why I have focused my own time and money, both at Green Armor and SecureMySocial, on inventing and marketing information security products that help address human vulnerabilities.)
- Hackers are utilizing increasingly complex and hostile attacks against enterprise information system infrastructures and databases, trying to steal what is considered to be, in the mind of many attackers, the holy grail of data.
The best way to protect yourself against the rising tide of cybercrime is to be prepared. Please see the article 13 Tips to Achieve Great Cybersecurity Without Spending a Fortune for some tips.