These top level numbers summarize the cybersecurity industry over the past year and indicate what’s in store for the next five years.
1. Cyber crime damage costs to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. It all begins and ends with cyber crime. Without it, there’s nothing to cyber-defend. The cybersecurity community and major media have largely concurred on the prediction that cyber crime damages will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion just a year ago. “Cyber theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States by far,” according to U.S. President Donald Trump.
2. Cybersecurity spending to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021. The rising tide of cyber crime has pushed cybersecurity spending on products and services to more than $80 billion in 2016, according to Gartner. It’s not clear if that includes an accounting of IoT device protection and total consumer spending on security. Global spending on cybersecurity products and services are predicted to exceed $1 trillion over the next five years, from 2017 to 2021.
3. Cyber crime will more than triple the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs, which is predicted to reach 3.5 million by 2021. Every IT position is also a cybersecurity position now. Every IT worker, every technology worker, needs to be involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure and people. The cybersecurity workforce shortage is even worse than what the jobs numbers suggest. As a result, the cybersecurity unemployment rate has dropped to zero percent.
4. Human attack surface to reach 4 billion people by 2020. As the world goes digital, humans have moved ahead of machines as the top target for cyber criminals. Microsoft estimates that by 2020 4 billion people will be online—twice the number that are online now. The hackers smell blood now, not silicon.
5. Global ransomware damage costs are predicted to exceed $5 billion in 2017. That’s up from $325 million in 2015—a 15X increase in two years, and expected to worsen. Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations—the No. 1 cyber-attacked industry—will quadruple by 2020.
What does it all mean? Last year, Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO, said, “Cyber crime is the greatest threat to every company in the world.”
And she was right. During the next five years, cyber crime might become the greatest threat to every person, place and thing in the world.