$10.5tr is certainly an eye-catching number, particularly when compared to a figure of $3tr, reported in 2015. What we’re talking about here is the estimated total cost of cybercrime, as forecast by a leading researcher in the field (Cybersecurity Ventures) at the end of last week. If the prediction is correct, then it would be equivalent to a 15% annual increase in costs for each of the next five years. To put $15tr into context, this would exceed the annual damage from worldwide natural disasters; or, is greater than the amount of money made from trading illegal drugs annually.
What should we be doing? The answer seems obvious: spending more on cybersecurity. Another interesting recent study (by Check Point, a major business in the field) highlights some of the key areas where organisations ought to be focusing over the next 12 months. The likelihood of more COVID-19 related attacks as well as novel threats emerging from the Internet of Things and 5G should be top of mind.
Begin with the pandemic and consider that 81% of enterprises have adopted mass remote working for their employees and 74% planning to enable it permanently, per the report. Ensuring that data are protected across more remote networks is therefore crucial. This encompasses everything from employees’ mobiles and other endpoints to cloud services. It’s also worth being mindful of phishing attempts (i.e. fraudulent approaches aimed at getting sensitive information from users based on the disclosure of passwords etc) inspired by news over vaccine developments, lockdown restrictions and so on.
Beyond the virus, as the world moves more digital, so the number of potential cybersecurity attack vectors also increases. 2021 may be the year in which 5G takes off. As networks are rolled out, it seems logical to assume that the number of connected IOT (Internet of Things) devices will increase. This raises the risk of more attacks. Smarter cities, more autonomous vehicles and the growing deployment of telemedicine – the latter is a theme on which we will write further next year – all drive the sharing of extra information, some of which may occur without users’ knowledge/consent and could hence be exploited. If there is one clear conclusion from the above, then it is time to get spending on more cybersecurity.
18 November 2020
The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.
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