The World Is Doubling Down on Cybersecurity, Should You?

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Although cybersecurity has always been of the utmost importance, in 2024, statistics show that countries, industries, and government agencies around the world are doubling down their efforts to protect their valuable data. The European cybersecurity market will grow by 12.3 % this year alone. Moreover, experts are adamant that this trend of double-digit growth will continue at least until 2027. By then, the spending will increase to 84 billion dollars annually. Several new EU laws will complement this budget. Something more, the EU MPs are adamant about ensuring compliance both on international and domestic levels.

Researchers claim that the double-digit rise is anything but surprising. The massive geopolitical turmoils, the fragile and unclear democratic future of several EU members, and the ever growing cybercrime economy will push even more countries to follow Europe’s lead and invest vast budgets in securing crucial data and online infrastructure.

But why should you care? What do Europe’s policies have to do with your business and your website? Well, cybersecurity is crucial for any business’s success. Following the trends will help you pinpoint weak points in your security system and enhance your overall cybersecurity.

Why Does Europe Spend So Much On Cybersecurity?

Countries have many reasons to up their security game. It always involves national security and risk mitigation. However, when an entire market as huge as the European one unilaterally decides to increase its security budget by 12.4% on average, this should instantly draw your attention.

Now, Europe has a lot of local problems. Their proximity to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and Russian influence in the vast majority of Eastern European countries forces many of these governments to go through vigorous security processes and implement draconian cybersecurity measures. This is especially important in a year when primary European Parliament Elections will be held. Security experts are adamant that Russia will try to influence the elections and push sympathetic parties to take as many seats in the EU’s parliament as possible so they can interfere with Europe’s dedication to supporting Ukraine. Thus, cybersecurity is vital to Europe’s national security.

Cyber security process

The European industry, however, will also invest heavily in cybersecurity. The market demands it. EU laws vigorously protect personal data and have draconian measures to prevent data abuse. Severe penalties threaten businesses operating in the EU if they neglect their security protocols and get breached.

Furthermore, today, most European customers are well aware of the cyber threats associated with conducting business online. Thus, a company’s security is an important factor in the European user’s decision-making process.

Finally, it’s all about the employment methods. After COVID-19, Europe has a shortage of professionals willing to work from offices. Thus, most EU employers offer hybrid working arrangements in an effort to lure the best experts in their field. Therefore, many use cloud infrastructures to ensure their employees can access vital data. Of course, this also pressures them to better their cybersecurity and protect their valuable secrets and information.

Still, cybersecurity spending is not unique to Europe.

What About Here In The USA?

The US has been the most hit country in the world ever since statistics on the topic were recorded. With more than 2.5 billion attacks, it’s not surprising that only 4% of companies feel they have done enough to secure their online data. Naturally, the US cybersecurity market is also growing at an enhanced pace. Today, the market is roughly around 72 billion dollars. However, by the end of the year, investments in cybersecurity technologies will grow by another 6 billion, reaching 78.31 billion. The security services alone take the lion’s share of the market – 41.73 billion dollars.

Investments in cybersecurity

This trend is not slowing down. Experts predict the market will reach 113.8 billion dollars by the end of 2028. These stats constitute a healthy growth of nearly 10% annually.

US companies are also doubling down on AI security measures and well-known blockchain technologies. Still, collaboration between industries and sharing security models are among the favorite strategies of US companies operating online.

As it seems the US market is not lagging behind on the cybersecurity investment front. And how could we? After all, we are at the forefront of technological advancement and have the world’s biggest economy. It only seems natural for us to lead the way in dealing with the global cybersecurity threat. But, of course, not all industries are equally endangered by cyber threats. So, depending on your industry, you may be able to allocate a bit less to your online security compared to others.

What Industries Will Spend Most?

Surprisingly, the education and research industries are among the biggest targets of cyberattacks. These companies experience, on average, 2507 attacks weekly. Therefore, according to LinkedIn data, hiring in cybersecurity positions has drastically increased by 41% in 2023 within the education sector.

Even so, this industry’s threats pale compared to those in the Financial sector. In 2023, ransomware attacks skyrocketed by 64% in the financial service industry. For example, the financial cybersecurity market in Europe accounts for 14.2% of the entire market. That’s hardly a surprise, considering the financial and legal consequences stolen personal data brings in this sector.

Energy and manufacturing are spending even more on the global scale. Security breaches in 2023 cost the Energy sector an average of 4.45 million dollars. This industry received roughly 11% of all global cyberattacks in 2022, and most likely, this percentage is not going down.

Cyber security locks

In the meantime, manufacturing was hit even harder, being the target of every fourth attack in 2022. Unsurprisingly, the industry is doubling down on security, and investments in cybersecurity within the manufacturing industry alone will reach 29.85 billion by 2027.

Still, the biggest victims of cybercrime are, without a doubt, Retail and Healthcare. Hackers often take advantage of small retail operations with small budgets that can’t afford or don’t prioritize sophisticated cybersecurity solutions. Unfortunately, this is a significant hit on the entire industry, and they will be one of the biggest contributors to the cybersecurity market in 2024.

Of course, the healthcare industry is the biggest private target (right after the Government). In Q3 of 2022 alone, one in 42 healthcare organizations experienced a ransomware attack. Since then, healthcare organizations have taken drastic measures against cyber threats.

But what are the threats in 2024?

What Are The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats In 2024?

While malware, DDoS attacks, and Phishing will still be present in 2024, the focus in the future will be on more sophisticated methods. There are a few you need to be on the lookout for.

Ransomware

Ransomware has become quite popular among criminals in the past few years. Essentially, ransomware is software that locks you out of your device or cloud. It may also effectively encrypt your files, rendering them useless. The end game of this cybercrime is to ask for a ransom. Usually, the attackers put a pop-up message that demands payment, most often in cryptocurrency.

In 2023 alone, there were more than 5070 successful ransomware attacks. This is a substantial increase of 55% compared to the prior year.

The USA was the most targeted market for ransomware attacks, getting nearly half (49.8%) of them. Business services and retail drew the short stick, getting 287 and 178 successful attacks, respectively.

Experts suggest that in 2024, these types of attacks will increase as businesses find it challenging to deflect them.

Quantum disrupting

This may sound like a sci-fi scenario, but quantum computing and disruptions are real. The entire concept of quantum computing is way too complicated to explain in a few sentences. Still, in a nutshell, quantum computers use quantum bits. Unlike the classical computer, they are not simply 0s and 1s but can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This allows quantum computers to perform numerous calculations at the same time.

Cybercrime

Naturally, this poses a significant threat, as quantum computing can make current encryption standards obsolete. By using quantum computers, hackers can easily decipher and steal personal data and security keys within seconds.

Though quantum computing attacks are rare occurrences for the moment, instances of such attacks will increase in the near future. Thus, many companies are investing in post-quantum encryption and cybersecurity protocols.

AI-powered attacks

Though AI has played a pivotal role in cybersecurity, it’s also one of the biggest cyber threats 2024. With the power of AI, hackers can optimize and scale their attacks without investing additional resources. This means smaller players can pose a significant threat despite having little resources and infrastructure to do it otherwise.

AI can also empower automated malware, as platforms such as ChatGPT can write codes quite well. This will eventually flood the cybercriminal world with less sophisticated but much more aggressive malware created by people with little to no understanding of programming.

As a result of AI, in 2023 alone, the number of email-delivered attacks increased by a staggering 86%. These numbers will only grow in 2024 and beyond, as cybercrimes require less knowledge and resources thanks to AI.

Zero-Day Exploits

Zero-day exploits are attacks directed at software, hardware, or firmware weaknesses that the developing team did not notice before the launch. The term “zero-day” refers to the unfortunate fact that vendors and developers have zero days to fix the problem, as malicious actors are already exploiting it.

These attacks usually deal with patches, but unfortunately, they are pretty hard to mitigate.

With the extreme competition in the SaaS industry, unfortunately, many software developers feel pressured to finish their products hastily. Thus, some oversights are unavoidable. That’s why zero-day attacks are constantly rising. In 2023 alone, they reached 97, which is not a significant number compared to the overall cybercrime, but shows an enhanced interest in exploiting these vulnerabilities – something that is quite troublesome, especially for SaaS developers.

Internet of Things breaches

The Internet of Things (IoT) is by far the most significant technological advancement in human civilization. Today, almost everything we own is connected to the internet. This is amazing on the one hand but exceptionally threatening on the other.

Unfortunately, however, these smart devices, which otherwise make our lives so much easier (and fun), are the weakest point in protecting our data and personal information.

IoT attacks are directed at devices, buildings, or vehicles that operate through an internet connection. Naturally, this poses a bigger threat, as most of our information is stored on our PC or smartphone. These attacks are most often device spoofing, DDoS attacks, malware attacks, or eavesdropping.

These attacks are by far the most used, as over 77.9 million were reported in the first six months of 2023 alone. The trend shows that these numbers will only grow with the increase of smart devices and solutions to everyday activities.

The good news, however, is that IoT attacks are decreasing in North America by 3%. This is mainly due to people’s increased awareness of this threat.

Knowing the threats is, without a doubt, the first step in preventing attacks on your and your client’s personal data. So, as a business owner, you have even more responsibility to understand these threats and try to mitigate them.

Why Should You Care?

Well, if it’s not obvious by now, there are a couple of excellent reasons why you should care a whole lot. Really, when the biggest IT markets worldwide are massively increasing their cybersecurity spending, this should be a red flag.

Firstly, if you miss the trends in cybersecurity, your business will become much more prone to attacks. With hardened security all across the market, lower-tier malicious actors will seek easier targets. This will make your business a lucrative prey.

Business cyber network

Moreover, with the evolving threat landscape, you must be at the forefront of cybersecurity, as lagging behind will inevitably ruin your reputation and credibility. A single leak of personal data will probably destroy your entire business. This goes double if you don’t have the resources and power to overcome the inevitable blow. Businesses that fail to secure their customer’s personal data often find themselves in lengthy and costly legal battles. More importantly, customers’ awareness of the importance of their personal information security will deter clients from using your services.

Finally, enhancing your cyber security can be a great sales point and marketing campaign. Showcasing your care and reliability can be a focal point in your presentation. As a result, you can get a huge competitive advantage.

What Are The First Steps In Securing Your Data?

Securing your data is more challenging than it may seem. It needs a robust plan, preferably built by a cybersecurity expert. Still, you can take some preliminary actions to ensure at least a basic level of security.

Back up your data

Regularly backing up your data will allow you to restore your information if it gets lost due to malicious acts. This is especially important if you are dealing with customers and deliveries. Losing orders will instantly ruin your reputation. So, make sure to back up your data regularly. How often you should do it depends on your industry. If there are constant changes, naturally, you will need more backups.

Though most hosting companies offer backups as part of their services, it’s a good idea to have one in external storage, encrypted and locked in a safe location. Having another one on the cloud is also a great idea, especially if you have a trusted provider.

Using robust passwords

Representation of a pasword

You already know that passwords like “123456” or “qwerty” are entirely unacceptable. But even if you use your dog’s name, your daughter’s middle name, or anything in between, it’s still not good enough. Your password should mix capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. If you insist on using words, The National Cyber Security Center recommends using no less than three random words attached by random numbers or symbols. For example, “george*laVa5softaball”. We’d also suggest adding a spelling mistake in such cases.

Don’t use public wi-fi for work

Using public wi-fi is always risky, even if you are simply scrolling on Instagram. However, when connecting to your business cloud or computer, you need to consider using protected networks. Using VPN is a great start, as it will allow you to use a relatively safe environment to enter your data-rich infrastructure. If you have private internet through an external device, that’s even better.

Have a strict protocol for opening emails

Opening emails is the most common way to infect your network with malware. Make sure all your employees follow your procedures strictly and can recognize phishing scams. Most are quite obvious, but some are exceptionally well executed.

You should always check the sender’s email rather than just the name. Moreover, if you are in doubt, better contact the sender through a different channel to ask if they sent you something. For example, if you’re not expecting an invoice yet you received one, try contacting the person before opening the attached file.

Separate accounts based on their needs

This is another step that will help you mitigate a crisis. By separating your employees’ accounts from your customers, you will create a specific set of access for people who need it. You can go a step further and customize your team’s access as well. For example, your marketing team does not require access to your website’s customization options.

What else

These are just the first steps in securing your and your clients’ personal data. We won’t pretend this is enough, but it is a good start. These steps will deter less knowledgeable scammers and malicious actors. Still, to counter professional hackers, you will need cybersecurity experts to make sure your network and infrastructure are safe.

Is Your Hosting Provider Safe?

Finally, you need to consider your hosting service provider. Indeed, your website’s security lies somewhat in their hands. So, having a hosting service provider with robust security is the first step toward enhancing your cyber security.

So, getting a hosting plan from HostArmada is a great way to enhance your website’s security while improving its overall speed and reliability. We offer high-end security features, lightning-fast website loading time, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Moreover, our cloud-based hosting additionally makes many malicious attacks on your servers impossible, as the technology allows us to redistribute resources as needed.

So, in practice, the first step toward better cyber security is checking our plans and choosing the one that will fit your needs best.