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Cyber risks, security and challenges ahead

Decade of cybersecurity risk increase

The past decade has brought significant changes and challenges in the world of cybersecurity, which have left us stunned. The Ponemon/IBM Cost of Illegal Access and Data Theft reports from the past ten years have given us a glimpse into a fascinating but sometimes disturbing picture of cyber security. As we consider the lessons learned and the emerging trends, it’s becoming clear that the data theft costs have increased significantly, requiring a deeper analysis of the threats and the measures to be taken to protect against them. The average cost of illegal access and misuse of data in 2014 amounted to $3.5 million. In 2023, which is nearing its end, that amount has increased by nearly 30%, reaching a terrifying $4.45 million per incident. What’s even more worrying is that companies in the US are now spending an average of $9.48 million per incident, according to the latest report, which represents a 75.5% increase in the cost of data theft in the US compared to 2013.

Healthcare sector is one step ahead of financial sector

Healthcare has borne the brunt of the costs of illegal access and data theft over the past 13 years, with an average cost of $10.93 million per incident in 2023. Healthcare is closely followed by the financial and pharmaceutical sectors. By inspecting these data, it becomes clear that strong measures need to be undertaken in the mentioned sectors to protect sensitive data and prevent further incidents.

Factors affecting costs resulting from illegal access and misuse of data

Encrypting data and engaging teams of experts in the event of cyberattacks have been particularly important business factors in the past. The landscape has changed dramatically in 2020. Data encryption dropped from second to seventh place, while artificial intelligence platforms took the lead in affecting the cost of illegal access and data theft. Integrating a DevSecOps approach in software development has earned a leading position in protecting against cyberattacks and reducing data theft costs. With the use of artificial intelligence and automation processes, which today are necessary tools, protection was raised to an even higher level, significantly reducing the time for identification and suppression of illegal access and data misuse, consequently reducing costs by $1.76 million.

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Increase of malicious attacks

According to a 2020 report, illegal access and misuse of data accounted for over 50% of malicious attacks in the past decade, while system and human errors accounted for about a quarter of cases. The reason for the increased percentage of malicious attacks could be the consequence of improved systems and changes that occurred in the market of telecommunications and information and communication technologies, which experienced expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic. The interesting thing is that, according to reports of rising costs of data theft and breaches, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has not made a significant difference to the global statistics as was predicted.

What awaits us in the future?

With the ubiquity of artificial intelligence and the advent of quantum computing, threats will undoubtedly evolve and new challenges will emerge. Therefore, in predicting developments over the following decade, the future of cybersecurity remains challenging and equally uncertain and unpredictable. By learning the lessons of the past, we can better prepare for future challenges, ensuring that our digital world remains safe and secure.