As cyber-attacks on corporate and government organizations become more and more frequent and severe, cyber-security industry professionals are on high-alert. The demand for cyber-defense experts is rising dramatically, and with a number of recent cyber-attacks on Sony and Apple, as well as the FBI and CIA, they will likely be kept busy.
The Investigative Response Team at Verizon Communications Inc., who investigate internet security breaches for companies worldwide, has doubled in size in the past year. According Chris Novak, a manager with Verizon’s IRT, the team currently has nearly 100 members, and he predicts that number will grow threefold within the next twelve months.
Since 2006, the cyber-security industry has been growing steadily at a rate close to 10 percent annually, and industry officials predict this year could be the busiest ever. In 2010, companies spent a record breaking $63 billion on cyber-security, and this year they are expected to spend a staggering $75.6 billion.
While the price tag associated with protecting computers and servers from cyber-attacks is high, the investment is worthwhile. Internet security research group, the Ponemon Institute, reports that in the first half of 2011, security breaches have cost U.S. companies alone, close to $96 billion.
When hackers infiltrated Sony’s networks and accessed accounts containing the personal information of more than 100 million users, the cost associated with the attack was estimated to exceed $170 million in legal fees, compensation, administrative costs, and security upgrades.
According to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, and sponsored by networking security firm Juniper Networks, 90 percent of businesses have been victim of at least one cyber-security breach in the last year, and more than half have experienced two or more.
With dozens of recent attacks by hacker groups like LulzSec and Anonymous bringing the issue to the forefront, cyber-security concerns have intensified, leaving companies with no other option than to significantly improve their security strategy.
“Once it starts happening to big enterprises and it gets to the media, it gets the attention of the chief executives,” said security firm Trusteer Corp.’s CEO, Mickey Boodaie. “And that’s when enterprises are starting to look for solutions.”