Cyber attacks are growing in prominence every day – from influencing major elections to crippling businesses overnight, the role cyber warfare plays in our daily lives should not be underestimated.
In fact, billionaire investor Warren Buffett claims that cyber threats are the biggest threat to mankind, and that they are bigger than threats from nuclear weapons.
We have compiled a list of relevant cyber security statistics for you as we head into 2018:
1. In 2016, the U.S government spent a whopping $28 billion on cyber security — and this is expected to increase in 2017 – 2018.
For perspective, just nine years ago, in 2007, the U.S government spent $7.5 billion to combat malicious cyber attacks. While that’s measly compared to the 2016 cyber security spend of $28 billion (a whopping 373 percent increase from that of 2007), $7.5 billion is no small change — that amount, even though it was spent by the U.S on cyber security in 2007, is bigger than the total budgets of many countries even in 2017 .
2. According to Microsoft, the potential cost of cyber crime to the global community is a mind-boggling $500 billion, and a data breach will cost the average company about $3.8 million.
Now, that’s a lot of money. But this can easily be fixed once we get a few facts right: 1) about 63 percent of all network intrusions and data breaches are due to compromised user credentials, so taking measures to protect your credentials (using a good VPN) should give you an added layer of protection. 2) An attacker spends about 146 days within a network before being detected — that’s quite a lot of time. Knowing this, regular measures could be taken to audit a network and ensure its security .
3. According to data from Juniper Research, the average cost of a data breach will exceed $150 million by 2020 — and by 2019, cybercrime will cost businesses over $2 trillion — a four-fold increase from 2015.
We were still gasping at the cost of $3.8 million Microsoft said a data breach costs the average company. However, data from Juniper Research shows this amount will increase by a massive 3,947 percent to over $150 million by 2020 . As your company grows, and as the Internet continues to develop at a massive pace, it might be a good idea to increase the percentage of your budget that goes towards security.
4. Ransomware attacks increased by 36 percent in 2017.
Research from Symantec shows that Ransomware attacks worldwide increased by 36 percent in 2017 — with more than 100 new malware families introduced by hackers. More interestingly, though, is that people, especially Americans, are willing to pay. 64 percent of Americans are willing to pay a ransom after becoming victims of ransomware attacks, compared to 34 percent of people globally .
5. The average amount demanded after a ransomware attack is $1,077.
This is an increase of about 266 percent. Naturally, seeing that more people are willing to pay a ransom considering how reliant on the Internet their activities are, hackers are upping their stakes and demanding significantly more. We can only expect this to increase as ransomware attacks increase in 2018 .
6. 1 in 131 emails contain a malware.
Emails are now being increasingly used by hackers, and an estimated one in every 131 emails contain a malware. This is the highest rate in about five years, and it is further expected to increase as hackers attempt to use malware like ransomware to generate money from unsuspecting people .
7. In 2017, 6.5 percent of people are victims of identity fraud — resulting in fraudsters defrauding people of about $16 billion.
This data is based on a comprehensive study by Javelin Strategy & Research, involving 69,000 respondents who have been surveyed since 2003. The research revealed that the victims of identity fraud in the U.S increased to 15.4 million in 2016, an increase of 2 million people from the previous year .
8. 43 percent of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses.
While we’ve been reading a lot in the media about major companies like Target, eBay, Yahoo and Sony being hacked, small companies are not immune. As it is today, at least 43 percent of cyber attacks against businesses are targeted at small companies, and this number will only keep increasing. 
9. Unfilled cyber security jobs is expected to reach 3.5 million by 2021 — compared to about 1 million in 2016.
While this might not seem like much, it is worth paying attention to: the projected increase in the number of cyber security-related jobs is proportional to projected increase in cyber crime, and a more than 200 percent increase  means we can expect cyber crime to increase by at least that much by 2021.
10. According to billionaire investor Warren Buffett, cyber attacks is the BIGGEST threat to mankind — even more of a bigger threat than nuclear weapons.
Now, this isn’t exactly a “statistic.” However, Buffett has an astute mind, and his statement  isn’t exactly without logic. From influencing elections in powerful nations to crippling entire corporations, cyber warfare is seeming to be much of a bigger threat than many have anticipated — and if the threat it poses will only increase as experts have predicted, then it’s worth taking note of this wise man’s saying.
11. 230,000 new malware samples are produced every day — and this is predicted to only keep growing.
This is according to research from Panda Security, estimating Trojans to be the main source of malware — being responsible for about 51.45 percent of all malware .
12. China is the country with highest number of malware-infected computers in the world.
According to research from Panda Security, an estimated 57.24 percent of all computers in China are infected by malware. The runner up is Taiwan, with 49.15 percent of all computers infected… and followed by Turkey with 42.52 percent of all computers infected .
13. More than 4,000 ransomware attacks occur every day.
This is according to data from the FBI . That’s a 300 percent increase in ransomware attacks compared to 2015, and it is projected to only keep increasing as hackers continue to choose ransomware as their preferred method of attack.
14. 78 percent of people claim to know the risks that come with clicking unknown links in emails and yet still click these links.
According to data from a researcher from the Erlangen-Nuremberg University, while many people claim to be aware of the risks of unknown links in emails, a good portion of them still click unknown links in emails .
15. 90 percent of hackers cover their tracks by using encryption.
Hackers are also wisening up to the use of encryption techniques like VPNs, and they are now more effectively covering their tracks — making it much easier to arrest them. The most effective method to combat cyber attacks as hackers get more sophisticated is by using the right preventative methods. It’s getting more and more difficult to catch them .
16. It takes most business about 197 days to detect a breach on their network.
That’s more than six months! Many businesses have been breached and still have no idea, and as hackers get more sophisticated it will only take businesses even longer to realize that they have been compromised .
17. Android is the second most targeted platform by hackers after Windows.
The number of malware targeting Android devices is increasing rapidly — and an estimated 98 percent of mobile malware target Android . Hackers aren’t just limiting themselves to desktop computers, they are also targeting mobile devices — as we continue to use mobile devices for even more important activities and financial transactions, the cyber attacks will only increase.
18. 81 percent of data breach victims do not have a system in place to self-detect data breaches.
Instead, many of them rely on notification from third parties to let them know about a data breach on their network — this significantly increases the time it takes to fix a breach from 14.5 days if they had self-detected it to about 154 days if it were detected by an external party .
19. 95 percent of Americans are concerned about how companies use their data.
A lot of Americans are concerned about how companies use their data . This is understandable considering the number of high-profile cases of data abuse that have made the news in recent times. However, why worry unnecessarily when you could simply cover your tracks and completely encrypt your data by using a reliable VPN service?
20. The two most important reason people use VPNs is to browse anonymously and to unlock better entertainment content: 31 percent of people use VPNs mainly to browse anonymously, while 30 percent of people use VPNs to unlock content.
The number one reason why people use VPNs is to access the internet anonymously, with 31 percent of people citing this as their reason for using VPNs. The second major reason is to unlock sites that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to unlock — like Netflix and the Apple Store — with 30 percent of people citing this as the main reason they use VPNs .
21. 42 percent of VPN users use a VPN at least 4 to 5 times a week — with most of them using it every day.
Indonesia is the country with the highest VPN usage — 41 percent of all Internet users in Indonesia use a VPN. This is followed by Thailand where 39 percent of all Internet users use a VPN, and the UAE, Turkey, Brazil and Saudi Arabia where 36 percent of Internet users use a VPN .