Top 5 cybersecurity facts, figures, and statistics for 2017

Predictions and observations provide a 30,000 foot view of the cybersecurity industry.

wooden numbers
Credit: Laineys Repertoire

These top level numbers summarize the cybersecurity industry in 2016, and indicate what's in store for the next five years.

1. Cybercrime damage costs to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. It all begins and ends with cybercrime. Without it, there's nothing to cyber-defend. The cybersecurity community and major media have largely concurred on the prediction that cybercrime 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 incoming U.S. President Donald Trump.

2. Cybersecurity spending to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021. The rising tide of cybercrime 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. Unfilled cybersecurity jobs will reach 1.5 million by 2019. This year, analysts and the media concluded there is a severe shortage of cybersecurity talent globally. There were 1 million cybersecurity job openings in 2016, and that is expected to reach 1.5 million by 2019. 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 cybercriminals. 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. Up to 200 billion IoT devices will need securing by 2020. Intel claims that the number of connected devices could surge to 200 billion by 2020, up from 15 billion in 2015. Cisco and Microsoft have both predicted 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Regardless of which estimate proves right, the bottom line is that the digital attack surface will grow massively over the next five years. Microsoft adds that by 2020 data volumes online will be 50 times greater than today.

What does it all mean? Last year, Ginni Rometty, IBM's chairman, president and CEO, said "Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world."

And she was right. During the next five years, cybercrime might become the greatest threat to every person, place, and thing in the world.

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