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The $1 billion opportunity in cyber security

Posting in Government

With companies under threat from evolving cyberattacks, what opportunity is there in the security market to expand?

Reuters reports that the cybersecurity market may be worth billions in the coming years, as attacks increase in complexity and sophistication. Far from the realms of a hacker hiding out in a bedroom, cyberattacks can now be state-sponsored, conducted by hacktivist teams from across the globe, and even the average person can now easily learn basic hacking methods.

Image credit: CNET

For businesses, the future state of security can be a worry. A single attack can release confidential emails, take down an entire network, or result in customer account details being thrown into a text document and uploaded online through services like Pastebin. These incidents can cost a small fortune to rectify -- whether you're an SME or enterprise -- as well as damage a firm's reputation and reduce customer trust.

U.S. carrier AT&T is one company that can see a silver lining amidst the worry, and view cyberthreats as a promising business opportunity worth billions of dollars.

Speaking about cyberattacks at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference, Frank Jules, president of AT&T's global enterprise unit said:

"We see them on a daily basis and they are now getting smaller instead of coming in huge waves, which were easier for us to detect.

Every chief information officer at major corporations that I meet wants to talk about security. I think this will be a $40 billion market one day."

Due to this, companies are expected to double or triple spending on security in the coming years. AT&T, for example, has seen double the amount of attacks against its networks in the past four months than previously recorded, and governments aren't safe either; hacktivist group GhostShell recently released 2.5 million accounts from Russian authorities for the public to download.

Threats to business and government come in many guises. From malware that is estimated to cost advertisers $900,000 per day to retail store customer accounts being stolen or viruses that are opened via email and spread through networks, a single error -- caused by accessing a malicious site or opening a seemingly innocent email -- can cause havoc.

A painful prospect in a fragile economy it may be, but for businesses heavily reliant on digital storage and networks, raising security investment now may be the only way to stop cyberattacks costing a firm far more in the long run.

— By on November 14, 2012, 3:16 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure