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 in 2015. This represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history, risks the incentives for innovation and investment, and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.
2. Cybersecurity spending to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021. The rising tide of cyber crime has pushed information security (a subset of cybersecurity) spending to more than $86.4 billion in 2017, according to Gartner. That doesn't include an accounting of internet of things (IoT), industrial IoT, and industrial control systems (ICS) security, automotive security, and other cybersecurity categories. Global spending on cybersecurity products and services are predicted to exceed $1 trillion over 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 6 billion people by 2022. As the world goes digital, humans have moved ahead of machines as the top target for cyber criminals. There were 3.8 billion internet users in 2017 (51 percent of the world’s population of 7 billion), up from 2 billion in 2015. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts 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 million, 6 years of age and older). 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. Cybersecurity Ventures expects ransomware damage costs will rise to $11.5 billion in 2019 and that a business will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds by that time.
What does it all mean? In 2015, 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.
Billionaire businessman Warren Buffet takes it a step further and says that cyber attacks are the number one problem with mankind, even worse than nuclear weapons.