By 2025, the global cost of cybercrimes will reach $10.5 trillion each year, up from $6 trillion in 2020. With an 11.8% annual growth rate, the damages of cybercrimes are growing twice as fast as the global economy.
With cybercrimes posing such a large and growing threat, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity engineering is one of the fastest-growing industries and professions in the world. The global cybersecurity market is projected to grow from $218 billion in 2021 to over $345 billion by 2026. And in 2022, Indeed ranked information security analyst thirteenth in its list of fastest-growing careers of the decade.
In the coming decade, cybersecurity will transform to address an ever expanding list of threats. From threat intelligence to Web 3.0, here are the six cybersecurity trends driving that transformation in 2023.
What is Cybersecurity?
As long as developers have been building software, there have been bad actors trying to break into applications, and engineers dedicated to stopping them.
Cybersecurity is an advancing discipline concerned with protecting and securing applications, networks, corporate data, and user data. Cybersecurity engineers are responsible for preventing, identifying, and stopping a variety of cyberattacks and breaches.
- Man-in-the-Middle / Machine-in-the-Middle (MITM)
- Denial-of-Service (DOS)
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
- Malware as a Service (MaaS)
- Cross-site scripting (XSS)
- Password attack
- SQL injection
2023 Cybersecurity Trends
#1. Threat Intelligence
Threat intelligence is a strategic framework that guides cybersecurity investments and decisions. Cybersecurity teams develop threat intelligence by analyzing data on a “threat actor’s motives, targets, and attack behaviors.”
A report by Intel and Analysis Working Group cites a number of benefits of threat intelligence:
- Faster and more targeted response
- Resource optimization and allocation
- Resource and staff optimization
- Budget development
- Risk management
Part of a circular intelligence cycle, threat intelligence responds to existing market conditions while anticipating and preparing for future trends.
#2. Healthcare Cybersecurity
From 2021 to 2022, ransomware attacks against the healthcare industry increased by 650%. Valuable patient data has made healthcare organizations prime targets for criminals, while finite resources and the need to protect patient outcomes have limited their ability to respond.
In response, the global healthcare cybersecurity market is growing at a rate of 29% YoY, and is expected to reach $59 billion by 2030. The main solutions driving the segment expansion will be data synchronization security and anti-malware software.
Expanding security needs will have a significant impact on the engineering workforce. In 2022, only 3% of cybersecurity engineers worked in the healthcare sector. In the next decade, this number is sure to increase at a dramatic pace.
#3. Machine Learning & Automation
The first moments after a cybersecurity attack are the most crucial. Early detection and response can make the difference between a successful defense and a security breach. To improve their response plans, security teams are turning to machine learning.
With nearly every technical discipline implementing machine learning, its role in cybersecurity shouldn’t come as a surprise. In 2022, machine learning was the second most in-demand technical skill in the world, surpassed only by problem solving.
Machine learning plays a key role in cybersecurity automation by executing key actions in response to a threat. These include:
- Event detection
- Data leak detection
- Firewall updates
- Legal team engagement
- Reducing successful attacks
- Increasing accuracy
- Eliminating redundancy
- Optimizing labor costs
- Analyzing attack trends
- Improving team morale
- Reducing employee stress
While cybersecurity automation is a powerful tool for enhancing security protocols, it’s still not (and will likely never be) a total replacement for cybersecurity teams. Security systems still require ongoing development, monitoring, maintenance, and oversight to be successful.
#4. Web 3.0 Security
The promise of next generation technologies has dominated headlines this decade. Cryptocurrency. Internet of things (IoT). The metaverse. Self-driving cars. But connecting existing devices, monetary systems, and human experiences to the internet has already brought a range of security risks.
2022 proved a crushing year for cryptocurrency. While the collapse of FTX and BlockFi garnered year-end headlines, the beginning of the year saw a number of cryptocurrency security breaches. In February, hackers stole $323 million from the blockchain bridge Wormhole. And in March, Lazarus Group from North Korea stole $540 million Ethereum and USDC stablecoin from Ronin Bridge. But crypto isn’t just vulnerable to cyberattacks. It also enables them, serving as a convenient method for transferring ransomware payments or stolen.
Other Web 3.0 technologies face similar security challenges. The metaverse is up against financial fraud, identity theft, and the darkverse. By 2030, the IoT devices will provide 29.42 billion connection points for hackers to exploit. And the security of self-driving cars is quite literally a matter of life and death.
The development, adoption, and viability of these technologies will depend on the ability of cybersecurity engineers to secure them against a growing list of threats.
#5. Ransomware: The Fastest-Growing Threat
By 2031, a ransomware attack will occur every two seconds. The damages will exceed $265 billion each year, making ransomware one of the greatest cybersecurity threats of the next decade.
As of 2022, it’s unclear what percentage of attacks are ransomware. That’s because most reports include ransomware in the broader category of malware – which itself is the most common type of attack. But we do know that ransomware is the fastest-growing type of cyberattack in the world.
Ransomware attacks are as diverse as they are ubiquitous. In 2022, there are now over 120 families of ransomware. The newest iterations include ransomware rebranding and double-extortion ransomware, the latter of which is growing by 120% YoY.
Some industries are more vulnerable to ransomware than others. As companies strengthen their cybersecurity, attackers are shifting their focus to organizations that lack the necessary resources to defend themselves. These institutions include healthcare facilities, hospitals, and state and local governments.
Zscaler reports that the healthcare and restaurant industries experienced the largest growth in ransomware attacks in 2022, with 650% and 450% growth, respectively. And the manufacturing industry is the most frequently targeted, receiving 20% of all ransomware attacks.
The supply chain industry is also under threat, a problem that could exacerbate the global supply chain crisis. And the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack demonstrated that civil and energy infrastructure is vulnerable.
Even federal governments are at risk. In late 2022, a cyberattack shut down the island nation of Vanuatu’s entire government for over three weeks.
The industries most affected by these attacks will have to respond by hiring skilled cybersecurity professionals or outsourcing to managed services providers.
#6. Hiring for Technical Skills Becomes a Necessity of Survival
Cyberattacks are an existential threat for the tech industry. From virtual reality to self-driving cars, each new innovation will bring with it new and more dangerous threats to defend against. Cybersecurity firms, managed services providers, and in-house teams will continue to expand in response. But the key to defending against expanding cyberattacks will be a growing and skilled workforce of cybersecurity professionals.
With a $10.5 trillion problem to solve, cybersecurity engineers, cybersecurity analysts, and related jobs will be the most important roles of the decade. Every business, government, and institution in the world will need to build or outsource engineering teams to protect themselves from a growing range of threats. The ability to assess, hire, and retain cybersecurity talent is no longer a competitive advantage. It’s a necessity of survival.