Cybercrime damages expected to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021

August 22, 2016

Cybercrime will continue its stratospheric growth over the next five years, according to a recent report published by Cybersecurity Ventures.

While there are numerous contributors to the rise in cybercrime — which is expected to cost the world more than $6 trillion by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015 — the most obvious predictor is a massive expansion of the global attack surface which hackers target.

Data remains the primary hacker target. Microsoft predicts by 2020 data volumes online will be 50 times greater than today. There are 111 billion lines of new software code being produced each year — which will include billions of vulnerabilities that can be exploited, according to research conducted by Secure Decisions.

Some media estimates peg the number of internet of things (IoT) devices to exceed 200 billion by 2020.

In a report last year, ABI forecasted that more than 20 million connected cars will ship with built-in software-based security technology by 2020 — and Spanish telecom provider Telefonica states by 2020, 90 percent of cars will be online, compared with just 2 percent in 2012.

The $6 trillion estimate of costs related to cybercrime damages by 2021 is based on historical cybercrime figures including recent year-over-year growth, a dramatic increase in hostile nation state sponsored and organized crime gang hacking activities, a cyber attack surface which will be an order of magnitude greater than it is today, and the cyber defenses expected to be pitted against hackers and cybercriminals over that time.

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