The Growing Surface of Attack and What Cybercrime has in Common with Street Crime [Q&A with Steve Morgan of Cybersecurity Ventures]

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by Bricata

Trillion with a “T.” 

Cybercrime damages will cost $6 trillion annually across the globe by 2021. That’s double the figure from 2015, which came in at about $3 trillion. It’s a number that’s calculated by an organization called Cybersecurity Ventures, a cybersecurity media property, founded by Steve Morgan.

As astonishing as those numbers are, Mr. Morgan believes the estimates are misunderstood. This is because he draws a parallel between street crime and historical population growth: as the number of internet users grows, so too does the surface area of attack and therefore cybercrime and the associated costs.

Mr. Morgan has a long resume in cybersecurity. He’s worked for vendors, he’s conducted high-profile research, and he has made many contributions to publishing around the web. In 2017, LinkedIn named him as a security influencer to follow citing the Cybersecurity 500 – an annual ranking of cybersecurity companies created by his organization.

We recently had a chance to catch up with him for our growing Q&A series with cybersecurity thought leaders.

1) Based on your research, what would you say are the top challenges in cybersecurity today?

SM: Retaining and recruiting “experienced” cybersecurity professionals, in that order. We are suffering through a worker shortage in our space – and there’s lots of opportunity for the more experienced people. You cannot ever take a senior cybersecurity staffer for granted. Money is only one part of the equation. The better people need to be challenged, work on cutting-edge platforms, and learn something new every day.

2) Year after year the cost of cybercrime damages rises even as organizations increasingly invest more in people, process and technology to head it off. Can you ever envision a time where these costs fall?

SM: Not for a long time. But many people misunderstand the figures. We are going through a natural evolution of cybercrime now – much like street crime and other forms of crime that evolved over long periods of time consistent with population growth. Cybercrime costs are a natural outgrowth of a massively expanding cyber attack surface. A few short years ago, less than half the world’s population was online. By 2030 we expect that 90 percent of humans over the age of six will be online. It’s not just about more sophisticated (cyber) weaponry; it’s as much about the growing number of human and digital targets.

3) All these numbers can feel overwhelming for business leaders. What advice would you have for the CEO or business leader trying to make sense of this data to make good decisions that will protect their enterprise?

SM: For large enterprises, invite the CISO into the boardroom so that you can truly understand the risks and how to become as cyber-resilient as possible. If you want to be a cyber secure organization, then you need to make it a boardroom topic.

>>> Also see this related piece: Four-Time CEO Says Corporate Culture is the Most Important Defense in Cybersecurity

4) Technology leaders charged with security – be it a CIO, CTO or CISO – can also feel overwhelmed by the growing responsibilities. What advice would you have for them that would help them in their role?

SM: This may not be a direct answer, but it will directly help the CISO and other senior executives cope with these responsibilities. Develop a peer network of other CISOs, etc. Now! The best CISOs I know – the ones that are most prepared and confident and are effective leaders – have strong peer networks. There’s power and knowledge in unity and collaboration. If I’m the CISO at a large healthcare system, then I should be talking to others in the same role. It’s like your personal life. No problem is too big to deal with if you have the proper support system in place.

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Bricata is a cybersecurity solutions provider that combines a powerful network threat hunting platform into a comprehensive threat detection and prevention solution to help determine the true scope and severity threats. Bricata simplifies network threat hunting by identifying hidden threats using specifically designed hunting workflows that use detailed metadata provided clearly and eases your transition from the known to unknown malicious activities in conjunction with an advanced threat detection and prevention platform which detects zero-day malware conviction.
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