The Future of Cyber CrimeOrhan Sari
Cybercrime is the chief danger to all establishments in the world, and one of the main challenges people face. The threats from cybercrime are massive, reaching to cyber-attacks on data and systems, via Malware, Ransomware, and various social engineering attacks. Although companies around the world are taking a number of crucial actions to deal with this problem, cybercrime is still evolving due to the advancement in technology.
According to the 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report sponsored by Herjavec Group,1 cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. According to report, there will be 6 billion Internet users by 2022 (75 percent of the projected world population of 8 billion) — and more than 7.5 billion Internet users by 2030 (90 percent of the projected world population of 8.5 billion, 6 years of age and older).
Like street crime, which historically grew in relation to population growth, we are witnessing a similar evolution of cybercrime. It’s not just about more sophisticated weaponry; it’s as much about the growing number of human and digital targets…Emerging threat actors, the prominence of interconnected devices and the most critical… – the VAST amount of data that needs to be secured – are all adding to this complex challenge.” 2
Based on historical cybercrime figures, including recent year-over-year growth, a vivid growth in the hostile nation state-sponsored and organized crime hacking activities is predicted in the near future.
1. Cyber Security Future Predictions
According to Gartner, 310.4 million wearable devices would sell worldwide in 2017, an increase of 16.7 percent from 2016 (see Table 1). Sales of wearable devices would generate revenue of $30.5 billion in 2017. Of that, $9.3 billion would be from smartwatches. “In 2017, 41.5 million smartwatches will be sold. They are on pace to account for the highest unit sales of all wearable device form factors from 2019 to 2021, aside from Bluetooth headsets. By 2021, sales of smartwatches are estimated to total nearly 81 million units, representing 16 percent of total wearable device sales.”3
|Other fitness monitor||30.12||30.28||30.97||58.73|
Table 1: Forecast for Wearable Devices Worldwide 2016-2018 and 2021 (Millions of Units) Source: Gartner (August 2017)4
Moreover, according to Cyber Security Ventures, 5 more than 3 billion user credentials were stolen in 2016. “That breaks down to 8.2 million credentials and passwords stolen every day or 95 credentials and passwords stolen every second.” Due to the growing occurrences and rising costs of security violations, Cyber security Ventures envisages $6 trillion annually in cybercrime loss by 2021! “And the world will need to protect 300 billion passwords by 2020”6
Despite promises from biometrics developers of a future with no more passwords — which may, in fact, come to pass at one point in the far-out future — a 2017 report found that the world will need to cyber protect 300 billion passwords globally by 2020.
2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report, “there are more than 111 billion lines of new software code being produced each year — which introduces a massive number of vulnerabilities that can be exploited” and “The world’s digital content is expected to grow from 4 billion terabytes (4 zettabytes) in 2016 to 96 zettabytes by 2020 (this is how big a zettabyte is).”and “… 20 million connected cars will ship with built-in software-based security technology by 2020” and “…90 percent of cars will be online, compared with just 2 percent in 2012”. Hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people can be hacked instantly through their wirelessly connected and digitally monitored implantable medical devices (IMDs) like cardioverter defibrillators (ICD), pacemakers, deep brain neurostimulators, insulin pumps, ear tubes, and more. 7
2. Future Cyber Security Spending
According to Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2019 Cybersecurity Market Report sponsored by Secure Anchor, Global spending on cybersecurity will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively for the 5-year period from 2017-2021. “In 2004, the global cybersecurity market was worth $3.5 billion — and in 2017 it was expected to be worth more than $120 billion. The cybersecurity market grew by roughly 35X over 13 years entering our most recent prediction cycle.”8 Worldwide spending on data security tools and services will extend more than $114 billion (USD) in 2018, an increase of 12.4 % from 2017. 9 According to Gartner (2019), the market is forecast to grow 8.7 percent to $124 billion.10 According to Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2019 Cybersecurity Market Report, global expenditure on cybersecurity tools and services will exceed $1 trillion over the five-year period from 2017 to 2021.11
3. Ransomware Will Continue to Grow
Ransomware, a malware that infects computers and limits access to files, or systems until a ransom is paid, has reached wide-ranging degrees and is the fastest rising cybercrime. According to Keepnet Labs, there has been a tremendous rise in the total number of Ransomware attacks. Businesses reporting has increased to an excess of 500 percent. Ransomware attacks on business increased in the first quarter of 2019 and these attacks are up by 195 % since the fourth quarter of 2018. 12
According to Global Ransomware Damage Costs (2018) by Cyber Security Ventures,13 ransomware damages would cost the world $5 billion in 2017, up from $325 million in 2015 — a 15X increase in just two years. “The damages for 2018 were predicted to reach $8 billion, and for 2019 the figure is $11.5 billion. The latest prediction is that global ransomware damage costs will reach $20 billion by 2021 – which is 57X more than it was in 2015. This makes ransomware the fastest growing type of cybercrime. At the end of 2016, a business fell victim to a ransomware attack every 40 seconds.
Global Ransomware damage costs were forecasted to surpass $5 billion in 2017, up more than 15X from 2015. Ransomware costs are now envisaged to charge the world $11.5 billion in 2019, and $20 billion in 2021.14
4. What is the future of cybersecurity?
We are witnessing the continuing evolution of an online and digitalized society, cybercriminal activity, and law enforcement — like our historical civil society’s development from back to the beginning of time.
However, the online world is developing more quickly. According to cybersecurity Ventures number of humans on the Internet will triple from 2015 to 2022 and reach 6 billion, and by 2030 that number will rise to 7.5 billion people.15
Today the internet world lacks the necessary regulative and law enforcement; that is to say, we do not have people who will protect us in the digital world like police officers in our physical world.
Businesses are highly dependent on their resources and third-party organizations for their solutions like incident response, cyber investigations and digital forensics, and resolving cyber cases.
Cyber security future will inevitably have a law enforcement one day. We will report the incidents, report cybercrime, and the police departments will combat cybercrime.
Also, we will heavily depend on artificial intelligence and machine learning on combating cyber crime.
5. Future of Security Awareness
According to Keepnet Labs, after compromise businesses are relying on the human response. Therefore, the first step is improving cyber security awareness and response is to quantify your risk because over 90% of successful data breaches are initiated by an email-based attack costing businesses $3 trillion per year and driving considerable technological investments. These technology solutions never detect and block 100% of email-based attacks, leaving businesses reliant on the users. However, the cyber security awareness training sector the most under-spent sector of the cybersecurity industry.
According to Cyber Security Ventures (2017), 16 the total security awareness training market (including CBT) was estimated to be $1 billion in late 2014, and “from 2014 to 2015, market growth for them was 55 percent… Security awareness training for employees is the most under-spent sector of the cybersecurity industry” However, it is anticipated that security awareness training for employees will reach $10 billion by 2027”, up from around $1 billion in 2014. “Employee training may prove to be the best ROI on cybersecurity investments for organizations globally over the next 5 years.”17
Editor’s note: This blog is updated on 3 November 2020
- The Gartner forecast doesn’t cover various cybersecurity categories including IoT (Internet of Things), ICS (Industrial Control Systems) and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) security, automotive cybersecurity, and others. See more: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-08-15-gartner-forecasts-worldwide-information-security-spending-to-exceed-124-billion-in-2019