Cybercrime and the irony of tighter regulation

Image credit: Romolo Tavani |

That cybercrime is a fact of life and going to get worse is indisputable. The irony is that the business losses through cybercrime data breaches will be driven ever higher by regulation.

The numbers are eye watering, according to a new report from Juniper Research. The business losses attributable to cybercrime will rise from $3 trillion (not billion) a year to a truly staggering $5 trillion a year by 2024.

This 11% annual rise will, says Juniper, be mainly driven by increased fines for data breaches as regulators put the burden of responsibility for guardianship of data firmly in the hands of companies.

The problem, of course, is that humans are more vulnerable than machines, even as we rely to a greater and greater extent on digital solutions.

The other problem is that, while companies realise that cybercrime is a huge threat and are deploying AI and other techniques to defend against it, cybercriminals are doing the same. Apparently, cybercriminals are already using AI to seek out patterns in security systems and thus identify flaws.

Essentially it will become a battle of AI being used for good, and evil.

It is clear that, on balance, evil will win.

This is partly because penetrating defences to perpetrate cybercrime is what they do when they get up in morning. What most other people do when they get up in the morning is go and be good at marketing, or sales, or making stuff. Which means security is not their priority and they are thus not concentrating quite hard enough to spot the deep fakes and social engineering techniques that are being brought to bear against them.

And this what must change. Security and training must be stepped up if the battle is not to be lost, and easily so. The other slightly depressing item from the Juniper report is that while cybercrime awareness will increase, cybersecurity spending will only increase at 8% a year from now until 2024.

Let us hope, where cybercrime is concerned, companies keep on the case, keep addressing the issue in a holistic manner and do not take the approach, as the cartoon on a recent article says ‘what if we don’t change at all and something magical just happens?’

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