4 reasons cyber security is more important than ever in 2023

4 reasons cyber security is more important than ever in 2023

Do you feel that your life is increasingly being filled with scam calls and messages? Well, you aren’t the only one. We speak with Professor Iqbal Gondal, Associate Dean of RMIT Melbourne’s Cloud Systems and Security Discipline to gain insight into why cybercrime is on the rise.

If you feel that scams calls, messages and malicious emails are becoming more prevalent in your life, you are 100% correct.  

A report by Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s leading researcher for the global cyber economy, pegs the worldwide annual cost of cybercrime to reach $8 trillion USD in 2023. The rising cost of damages resulting from cybercrime is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. 

These are 4 key reasons cyber security needs to be at the top of everyone’s priority list: 

Economic factors 

The past few months have seen 150,000 layoffs from the world’s top tech firms, including Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon. “When smart people lose their jobs, and their future prospects are low due to bad economic conditions, studies show they often turn to illegitimate means to earn an income,” Professor Iqbal Gondal, Associate Dean of RMIT Melbourne’s Cloud Systems and Security Discipline states. “In some parts of the world, where law enforcement is a bit lax, and local laws are not fully developed in terms of online crime, there is motivation for these people.” 

With the global economy still facing the challenges of inflation, continued energy crises and supply chain issues, not only will more people find work within illegal trade, but the cost to also combat criminal activity will rise as well, specifically due to how inflation affects preventive and remediation costs.   

A new type of service industry 

Adding fuel to the fire is the new trend of malware-for-hire. In the black market, individuals can now purchase malware ‘products.’  Professor Gondal notes that “The material is essentially out in the open. Anyone who has some talent in engineering can take it and mount an attack. Or, if you aren’t tech-savvy, you can just hire the attackers.” 

Worryingly, underground forums have begun offering phishing kits, alongside ransomware and other malware for highly inexpensive prices.  

Headshot photo of a middle-aged man with glasses and mustache and wearing a suit Professor Iqbal Gondal, Associate Dean of RMIT Melbourne’s Cloud Systems and Security Discipline

SME’s beware

Large corporate hacks may hog the headlines, but those truly at risk from cyber criminals are small to medium level enterprises. In the United States, more than half of all cyberattacks are committed against SMEs, and 60 percent of them go out of business within six months of falling victim to a data breach or hack (Cyber Security Venture report 2022).  

In North America 97% of all business is made of these types of enterprises and the General Statistics Office of Vietnam reports that as of 2021, SMEs accounted for approximately 98% of all businesses in Vietnam. 

SMEs are targeted as they tend to have weaker security measures in place and also less recourse or media coverage after an attack has been carried out.  

IoT faces new challenges 

The Vietnamese Government is pushing for an increase in smart cities as well as a strong investment in IoT. The market for IoT was estimated to be over 7 billion USD in 2021, with a yearly growth of 24% as per a Business Wire report.  

Globally, it is estimated that by 2023, there will be over 15 billion IoT devices in 2023, and with many hybrid working situations remaining in place post-Covid, working remotely has become a social norm. As per the Cybersecurity Ventures report, the first half of 2021 saw 1.5 billion attacks on smart devices.  

“Traditionally, cyber-physical systems have been standalone in the past, but to connect them to a central internet, we need to update them. Yet as they are Legacy systems, they are vulnerable to attacks,” Professor Gondal explains. “Smart devices are increasingly becoming the target for hacking. If you think about automobiles, before security was focused on a singular car. It was an isolated machine.  Now that cars use 5G, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to connect to all sorts of applications, from a security standpoint, it’s an entirely different ballgame. In today’s internet black market and across criminal groups, there are bad actors who’s only job it is to search for vulnerabilities.  When discovered, the information is worth a lot of money in criminal marketplaces.”  

The number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide as of 2021 stood at 3.5 million (up 350% from 2013), and thus global need for cyber security professionals is strong. Companies will need to prioritise having this type of talent on board or face the possible consequences. 

With RMIT’s Master of Cyber Security program, we teach you the necessary technical and soft skills to excel within any high-level security role. Want to know what it takes to lead in the digital security landscape? Check out our programs and talk to an advisor today! 


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