Identifying zero day vulnerabilities is of utmost importance for governments to prevent them from being used by extremist groups for infiltrating a nation’s critical infrastructure. This is a primary factor fuelling demand from the global cyber weapon market, states Transparency Market Research (TMR). Cyber weapons developed by hackers are aimed at exploiting confidentiality. However, depending on the method of use, they can be classified as either defensive or offensive cyber weapons. Both these market segments are presently gaining from the increasing demand for identifying zero-day vulnerabilities.
When used for offensive purposes cyber weapons can lead to mass destruction. Due to growing threats associated with cyber weapons, various international organizations have described them as malicious codes. Stringent regulations are thus being implemented to curb their use against the human race. This factor is likely to inhibit the market’s expansion to an extent. Nevertheless, in regions such as North America, governments are proactively investing in the development of advanced cyber weapons to protect their critical utilities. This will create new opportunities for growth for the market in the near future.
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According to TMR, the global cyber weapon market was valued at US$390 bn in 2014. Exhibiting a CAGR of 4.4%, the market is expected to reach US$521.87 bn by the end of 2023.
Demand from Defensive Cyber Weapon Segment to Increase due to Rising Cases of Cyber Espionage
Based on type, the global cyber weapon market has been fragmented into defensive and offensive cyber weapon segments. In terms of revenue, the defensive cyber weapon held the larger share of 73.8% in the market in 2014. The increasing cases of cyber espionage have compelled governments and private organizations to focus on technologies to safeguard their critical infrastructure. Since information technology is integral to industries such as manufacturing, defense, and aerospace, they are more vulnerable to cyber thefts. The demand for defensive cyber weapons is therefore expected to continue to surge through the forecast period.
The offensive cyber weapons segment is currently at a premature stage. However, TMR expects the cyber weapons market to gradually shift from defensive to offensive weapons. Nations around the world are strengthening their offensive cyber capabilities due to the emergence of cyber as new platform for warfare. However political and legal issues associated with offensive cyber weapons have compelled governments to implement stringent regulations to ensure non-proliferation of offensive cyber weapons. This has a negative impact on the segment.
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Rising Cyber Attacks Compelled Governments in North America to Invest in Cyber Weapons
From the geographical standpoint, North America dominated the global cyber weapons market with a share of 36% in 2014. TMR forecasts the region to maintain its dominance in the market through the forecast period. The Internet is the backbone of critical infrastructure such as industrial control, air traffic control systems, and military defense in the U.S. The country has witnessed several attacks on its critical infrastructure in the past. Its government is therefore investing in developing novel technologies to prevent future cyber-attacks on such critical utilities. Such developments will significantly aid the expansion of the cyber weapons market in North America.
In 2014, Asia Pacific was another key market for cyber weapons. The rising demand from countries such as India, China, North Korea, Australia, South Korea, and Japan will boost the cyber weapons sales in the region. Furthermore, the increasing investment by China in the development of advanced cyber warfare technique will significantly aid the market’s expansion in Asia Pacific.
The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, Raytheon Company, BAE Systems plc, and Northrop Grumman Corporation are some of the leading players operating in the cyber weapon market.
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