October 1, 2018  |  Purdue University Global  |  Updated December 24, 2020

More than half of the world's population (4-plus billion people) are online, according to data from We Are Social and Hootsuite. As more businesses and people rely on the internet, cyberthreats increase. In 2017 there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud, a record high that beat a record from the previous year, according to Javelin’s 2018 Identity Fraud report.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Every October since 2004, the National Cyber Security Division within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance have sponsored National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). The initiative raises awareness about relevant cybersecurity issues, so individuals and businesses can stay safer online.

In 2018, NCSAM focuses on the theme that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility among Americans, and everyone must work together to improve the country's cybersecurity. Key messages include:

  • Cybersecurity affects multiple industries, sectors and organizations, so the nation must come together to face it.
  • The cybersecurity ecosystem—including the cybersecurity workforce—must be strengthened.
  • Critical infrastructure must be in place to thwart cybersecurity threats.

In honor of NCASM, here's a look at some interesting cybersecurity facts, quotes, and information about how to become a cybersecurity professional.

Cybersecurity Stats

Cyberattacks are one of the biggest threats businesses and individuals face today. Consider these stats:

  • Breaches hit a new record in 2017, with 1,579 breaches tracked. That number is up 44.7% from 2016 (Identity Theft Resource Center).
  • In 2017, 179 million records were exposed, compared to 37 million the previous year (Identity Theft Resource Center).
  • The business sector accounted for 55% of the total number of breaches, followed by medical/healthcare organizations (23.7%) and the banking/credit/financial sector (8.5%) (Identity Theft Resource Center).
  • In 2018, the Identity Theft Resource Center tracked 790 breaches through July, with 27.3 million records exposed. Hacking was the primary type of breach incident, followed by unauthorized access.
  • The cost of global data breaches is rising. The average cost of a global data breach is $3.86 million, up 6.4% year-over-year. In the U.S., the average cost was $7.91 per data breach. The cost for each lost record increased 4.8% year-over-year (Ponemon Institute's 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study: Global Overview).
  • By 2021, cybercrime damages are estimated to cost $6 trillion annually around the globe (Cybersecurity Ventures).

Now that you've learned about the prevalence of cybersecurity threats, here's some expert insight about how to combat them.

Insights From Cybersecurity Leaders

Here's a look at some wisdom passed down from leaders in the cybersecurity field:

“Cyber crime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.” –Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM

“As cybersecurity leaders, we have to create our message of influence because security is a culture, and you need the business to take place and be a part of that security culture.” –Britney Hommertzheim, Director of Information Security at AMC Theatres

“Corporate America should get ready. Cybersecurity regulations [like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union] will soon be coming to the United States—and that's actually a good thing...I firmly believe that the U.S. will pass similar regulations over the next two years.” –Robert Herjavec, Founder and CEO of Herjavec Group and Star of “Shark Tank”

“Too much emphasis and investment are focused on protecting the endpoints and connected devices on the network with the goal of preventing all breaches. It is time to acknowledge that even the most experienced security team cannot possibly keep all cybercriminals out—and insider threats will always be a challenge. Instead, there must be a shift toward active defense. This mindset will give the victims of hackers a pathway towards preventing more damage. The question should not be: 'How can I make sure our systems are never penetrated?' Instead, the questions to ask are: 'When a hacker penetrates the network, what will he be able to access? How can we make sure the hacker can't open, share, print or download any sensitive files?'” –Dr. Salvatore Stolfo, Chief Technology Officer at Allure Security

“What we should actually be doing is thinking about what are our key controls that will mitigate the risks? How do we have those funneled and controlled through the team that we have? How do we work through that in a well-formatted, well-formulated process and pay attention to those controls we have chosen? Not a continual add more, add more, add more.” –Dr. Chris Pierson, CEO of Binary Sun Cyber Risk Advisors

Cybersecurity experts agree that working to strengthen the entire cybersecurity ecosystem, including through regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), can help protect more businesses and individuals who are likely to be exposed to threats.

If you’re interested in combating cyberthreats, read on to learn how to grow a career in cybersecurity.

Careers in Cybersecurity

With cybersecurity threats on the rise, there's expected to be a growing need for information security analysts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports information security analyst careers are expected to grow 31% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than average compared to all careers.* More than 40,900 information security analyst jobs are expected to be added in the U.S. during this time.

As of September 2018, Cyberseek reported there were more than 300,000 cybersecurity job openings throughout the U.S. Cybersecurity analysts perform a variety of duties across diverse industries. If a business cares about its cybersecurity, it will employ a cybersecurity analyst in some form. Typical duties include:

  • Monitor networks for breaches and conduct investigations for cyberattacks.
  • Recommend security enhancements.
  • Develop security best practices for a business or organization.
  • Conduct testing to identify vulnerabilities.

Considering the cost of data breaches, the role of a cybersecurity analyst is highly valuable to an organization.

Earning a Cybersecurity Degree

If you're interested in becoming a cybersecurity professional or advancing your career, consider furthering your education to learn the latest cybersecurity trends and technologies.

At Purdue Global, we offer a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in cybersecurity. The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in cybersecurity. In addition to learning technical skills, students cultivate soft skills that are valuable for collaborative business settings, like teamwork, leadership, and personal presentation.

For those who already have experience in the information technology field, our Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management program focuses on the knowledge and skills related to leadership roles. Students in this program:

  • Review recent cybersecurity literature and industry publications to evaluate cybersecurity theories and best practices.
  • Research cybersecurity topics and analyze data using statistical principles.
  • Apply appropriate theories within cybersecurity science to evaluate and mitigate risk.

Students graduating from the master's program can be prepared to take on senior roles within cybersecurity. Some cybersecurity management and senior-level roles require applicants to have at least a master's degree in order to apply. Students also have the opportunity to learn from fellow students and make valuable networking connections that can lead career possibilities.

Earn a Cybersecurity Degree With Purdue Global

If working in cybersecurity interests you, or you want to grow your IT career by earning a higher degree, Purdue University Global offers flexible online programs in IT and cybersecurity. You can study on your own time, on any connected device, and continue to work while you go to school. Request more information today.

About the Author

Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized, world-class education online that's tailored for adults. We offer 175 programs, including associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees as well as certificates, in areas such as business, IT, education, health sciences, nursing, criminal justice, and more.


*National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual growth.