It is no secret: the world is not ready to defend itself from hackers and cybercriminals. The recent WannaCry virus – which claimed over 200,000 victims in around 150 countries – was not a one-off, but a sign of things to come.
In fact, the global cost of cybercrime is estimated to run into the trillions over the next five years. According to a new report by Juniper Research, nearly 3 billion customer data records are expected to be swiped by the end of this year alone. That number is only expected to rise year-on-year thereafter.
The overall cost to businesses will run up a total of $8 trillion, according to Juniper’s Future of Cybercrime & Security report. High levels of internet connectivity (boosted by the IoT) couple with inadequate security will allow cybercriminals to flourish over the next five years.
But it is not just the monetary cost of cybercrime that Juniper highlights as problematic. “The attacks on hospital infrastructure show that inadequate cybersecurity can now cost lives as well as money,” research author James Moar said. “Businesses of all sizes need to find the time and budget to upgrade and secure their systems, or lose the ability to perform their jobs safely, or at all.”
Juniper found that SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are particularly at risk from cyberattacks, spending less than $4,000 on cybersecurity measures this year. Only marginal increases in security spend are expected over the next five years.
Ransomware – like the WannaCry – is becoming far more common and a more advanced virus to hold businesses to ransom. As well as locking users out, Juniper has found that some ransomware is now able to collect stored data and steal valuable information from users. And the research body only expects ransomware to become more wide spread and more advanced.
“Juniper expects ransomware to rapidly develop into simple-to-use toolkits, the same way banking Trojans developed into ‘products’ that required little or no programming knowledge to use,” a spokesman said.