According to the 2018 World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, the most significant threat to the world both in terms of likelihood and impact is extreme weather events. Fueled by the ongoing concerns of climate change, natural disasters and the like have become the primary issue for global leaders, businesses and the general public. Also among the biggest risks for 2018 are weapons of mass destruction. Although the likelihood of an attack is still relatively low, the potential damage means an incident is never far from our minds. However, as serious as these threats are, they’re either tough to prevent (i.e. we can’t control the weather) or unlikely to happen (i.e. a nuclear war).
More Time Online Makes Cybersecurity an Issue
For millennials and those that live the majority of their lives online, the biggest threat is cybersecurity. As per the World Economic Forum’s report, cyberattacks and data theft ranked third and fourth on the “likelihood” scale, while the former was sixth in terms of perceived impact. While those are still relatively high rankings, they’re not as pressing for the world at large as extreme weather and nuclear bombs. However, for the younger generation, they’re perhaps the biggest threat. Whichever metrics you use, the data invariably shows that millennials and Generation X spend the bulk of their time online. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, the 18-to-35 demographic is fully immersed in the virtual realm.
In 2017, millennials spent, on average, 223 minutes per day using online services via their mobiles. In line with this data, Badoo.com surveyed its 370 million users and found that 18-to-30-year-olds spend 10 hours per week on its dating app, while a 2017 report from Ofcom found that Brits now spend more time online than sleeping. However you look at it, people are more connected to the internet than ever. The upshot of this is that it exposes us to new threats. In 2017, OWASP listed the top ten security risks, with everything from SQL injections and cross-site scripting listed as threats to your online safety. Couple this with data from the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) showing that cyberattacks on businesses doubled between 2016 and 2017 and it’s easy to see why companies are now embracing security tech.
Technology Keeping Threats at Bay
Because more people are spending their time online, major brands can no longer treat cybersecurity as a luxury. For any online business, using a web application firewall in conjunction with security information and event management (SIEM) and, more recently, artificial intelligence is the best way to protect consumers. By integrating a cloud-based web application firewall (WAF), companies are essentially putting a barrier between their app (and you) and the internet. By using multiple layers of analysis, WAFs can monitor and filter traffic in real-time to identify threats and stop them from infecting an application. In other words, this software helps prevent the threats identified by OWASP to ensure users and their data remain safe.
Naturally, because criminals are constantly looking for ways to overcome security features, security teams can never rest on their laurels. This is where artificial intelligence and machine learning is starting to help. Because modern software can now work autonomously and actually become more efficient on its own, staying on top of the latest threats is becoming easier. While a platform can never be 100% safe from the elements, technology does allow businesses to win the battle. So, even though cybercrime is one of the biggest threats for millennials in today’s world, it’s a problem that can be controlled unlike the weather or a tyrannical despot intent on nuclear destruction.