Ransomware is not new. Cybercriminals have been encrypting people’s and business’s computers to extort ransom payments since 2012. You probably know a few people, who have been victims. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic it seemed that only cybersecurity professionals were paying attention to the numerous waves of ransomware attacks. While cyber- and IT-focused media would report on these attacks regularly, rarely did they break into the media stream media’s reporting.
Then the cybercriminals got clever. They started using “shaming sites”. Previously, many companies were incentivized not to publicly admit to being victims of ransomware. Cybercriminal altered those incentives by threatening to upload companies’ names and proof of compromise to “shaming sites,” if those companies didn’t pay their ransoms. That way the whole world could learn of the breach. To avoid the shame of that public outing, companies would in theory be more likely to pay the ransom. The result is that ransomware attacks are now much more public. The sheer volume of attacks, which is reported on, ensured that ransomware made it into mainstream media.
Contrary to what we tell children, cybercrime pays. Cybersecurity Ventures forecasts that the global cost of cybersecurity will increase to “$10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion USD in 2015.” Considering that global GDP is forecast to reach $116.4 trillion USD by 2025, that’s a staggering cost of cybercrime. This cost impacts all of us. The cost of cybercrime will be baked into everything we consume.
Cybersecurity Is Hiring
Between the volume of public reports and a handful of high-profile ransomware attacks, like the Colonial Pipeline attack—which captured global attention and impacted everyday people—ransomware has truly entered the zeitgeist. As people become more and more aware of the global impact of cyberattacks, they also become aware of the opportunity of cybersecurity careers. That increased awareness is exactly what we need to turn the tide of cybercrime.
Contrary to what we tell children, cybercrime pays.
The good news is that cybersecurity is hiring. Increased awareness of cybersecurity careers—as a result of increased public awareness of ransomware—can be met with plenty of opportunities. (ISC)2’s 2020 Cybersecurity Workforce Study showed there were approximately 3.12 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally last year.
Despite what's shown in movies and TV shows, being a cybersecurity professional doesn’t require you to be a technology wunderkind, who’s been taking computers apart since she was 12 years old. It just requires curiosity, dedication, and a willingness to learn new things. If we want to avoid living in the dystopian world of cybercrime that Marc Goodman describes in Future Crimes, we need to funnel more professionals to cybersecurity.
This is a good opportunity to spread the awareness of the future-proof career opportunities, which cybersecurity offers. Not only does the profession need more good people, but society needs more good cybersecurity professionals. Spread the word. Cybersecurity is hiring!