Any system connected to the Internet is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber weapons are designed as advanced cyber warfare tools powered with weaponized zero-day vulnerabilities in software. These virtual weapons are primarily aimed at launching effective cyber-attacks on energy networks. With cyber professionals and hackers increasingly focusing on developing cyber capabilities to penetrate into enemy networks to infringe the confidentiality of the target, the demand for cyber weapons is expected to increase at a rapid pace in the forthcoming years. Additionally, cyber weapons are also capable of espionage, data theft, and destroying equipment and other critical systems such as the national defense system and industrial control system.
A report published by Transparency Market Research pegs the overall value of the global cyber weapons market at US$390.0 bn in 2014. Rising at a steady CAGR of 4.4% between 2015 and 2021, the market is anticipated to reach US$521.87 bn in 2021.
Increasing Incidence of Data Theft Boosts Demand for Cyber Weapons
The increasing incidence of data theft and cases of cyber espionage reported globally has brought issues of protecting confidentiality of digital data at the forefront among various industries and organizations. With governments around the world increasingly focusing on improving the security levels of their digital infrastructure, the use of cyber weapons is poised to considerably increase in the next few years. Besides this, the global market for cyber weapons will also gain impetus from the various initiatives adopted by governments and private organization to establish cyber units.
Depending on the key method of usage, cyber weapons can be broadly classified into offensive and defensive products. The growing focus on identifying exploits or zero-day vulnerabilities is propelling the development in offensive and defensive cyber weapons alike. Additionally, the increasing investment by government organizations and intelligence agencies for setting up cyber units to procure efficient cyber capabilities is also fuelling demand from the global cyber weapon market.
Defensive Cyber Weapons Witnessed Highest Demand
Based on revenue, the market majorly benefitted from the defensive cyber weapons segment in 2014. The segment is anticipated to continue to dominate the market over the forthcoming years as well. Information technology being an integral part of industries such as aerospace, defense, and manufacturing, protecting the confidentiality of information is critical for any organization. The increasing incidence of cyber espionage has raised questions about the cyber security programs deployed across these industries. Hence, governments and private organizations are increasingly focusing on securing their critical infrastructure. This in turn is anticipated to give a major boost to the market. However, it is not likely to entirely eliminate the possibility of cyber-attacks, since complete security of networks is not possible. This consequently drives the demand for offensive cyber techniques.