Whilst the Cyber Security industry has always been known to be constantly evolving, it's undeniable that the rate of change in this sector has accelerated in recent years. A large part of this has been driven by the Coronavirus pandemic, which precipitated a substantial rise in data breaches as increasing numbers of people chose to work remotely, access cloud computing services and use the IoT.
In addition, hackers are harnessing the power of machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to launch increasingly effective attacks against businesses and financial institutions.
These Cyber Security trends may seem very concerning to many, as the sector faces considerable challenges in overcoming the efforts of hackers. However, these issues also present an exciting opportunity for employees in this sector to find innovative solutions. By deploying AI and automated technologies similar to those used by cyber hackers, the Cyber Security industry can help businesses protect both their data and their bottom line.
Online data breaches are on the rise
The years following the outbreak of COVID-19 saw a marked increase in the volume of online data breaches. The average total cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.35m in 2022, a 2.6% increase from the average cost of $4.24m recorded in 2021. This is a considerable increase of 12.7% from the $3.86m average cost recorded in the 2020 report. In cases where remote working was identified as a factor in causing the breach, costs were nearly $1m greater than in breaches that don’t involve remote working ($4.99m vs. $4.02m).
Asia was the most affected region in 2021, receiving 26% of global attacks, of which 23.2% were targeted at Manufacturing, replacing Financial Services as the most impacted industry. Interestingly, the human element such as a successful phishing attempt or a misuse of credentials, is still a significant factor, accounting for 82% of breaches. According to research conducted by IBM, Microsoft, Apple and Google are the top three brands that cyber criminals attempted to mimic in 2021, seeking to exploit consumer confidence in these companies.
Not surprisingly, cybercrime costs are predicted to increase by 15% annually and could exceed $10.5 trillion by 2025.
The rise of AI
In the past, hackers operating alone posed the greatest security concern to organizations; however, this is no longer the case. Cyberattacks increasingly involve the use of advanced technologies such as machine learning and AI. A good example of such malware is Emolet, a sophisticated, self-propagating computer program designed to steal banking credentials, which made an unwelcome reappearance in November 2021 after having been enhanced by AI to increase its effectiveness. There is even evidence to suggest that AI can generate phishing emails that are more effective at fooling recipients than humans.
On a more positive note, it has been shown that organizations with a fully deployed AI and automation program can identify and contain breaches 28 days faster than those without, saving $3.05 million in costs. It seems clear that the use of artificial intelligence to both make and counter cyberattacks will be one of the most important Cyber Security industry trends going forward.
Evolution of Multi-Factor Authentication
As ever-increasing numbers of people opt to work from home, the need for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) has grown substantially. MFA dramatically increases user security by ensuring that access is granted only after the user has successfully presented two or more factors, or pieces of evidence, for authentication.
Valued at over $10bn in 2020, the MFA market is expected to surpass $28bn by 2026.
Vulnerability of IoT
According to the Microsoft Digital Defence Report 2022, IoT (Internet of Things) devices are often targeted by cyberhackers, due to the fact that they serve as entry points to networks and critical infrastructure. The report notes that the security of IOT devices has not strengthened in recent years. Part of the problem is that many IoT devices are not compatible with general Cyber Security tools, leaving them more susceptible to cyberattacks.
This is supported by a report issued by Sonic Wall, which found that malware attacks on IoT devices jumped by 77% in the first half of 2022. All indications suggest that cybercriminals will continue exploiting security vulnerabilities in 2023, with action being taken to correct these weaknesses in the midst of escalating attacks.
The continued demand for Cyber Security talent
In light of these pressing concerns regarding security threats, Cyber Security professionals are in a strong position to find well-paid work with good security. The number of Cyber Security jobs is expected to increase by 35% between 2021 and 2031 in the USA, and it is estimated that the Cyber Security profession needs to grow by 3.4m people globally to close the global workforce gap.
It's a similar story in the UK, where a high proportion of businesses lack staff with the incident response skills that are required to adequately meet their Cyber Security needs. It is estimated that 653,000 businesses (48%) have a basic skills gap in areas such as installing configured firewalls, and that a further 408,000 businesses (30%) have more advanced skills gaps, in areas such as penetration testing, and forensic analysis.
It is without doubt that there will be a rapid growth in the demand for Cyber Security professionals globally, with the attractive prospects of generous compensation.
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