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.

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 2021.

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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Increased Prevalence of Cyber Threats to Boost Global Cyber Weapon Market

The global cyber weapons market is likely to observe considerable growth due to increased prevalence of threats to critical infrastructure across several sectors, comprising government and information technology (IT). Augmented defense expenses together with constant evolution of cyber weapons in the form of warfare tool are foreseen to support development of the global cyber weapons market. Intelligence, paramilitary and military agencies infiltrate through the enemy’s network with the use of cyber weapons, particularly a virus or malware.

Rising demand for the violation of target’s privacy and for securing the host nation’s sovereignty is anticipated to trigger growth of the global cyber weapons market in the near future. Cybercriminals make offensive use of cyber weapons and defensive use by officials of various law enforcement agencies are likely to add to the development of the global cyber weapons market in the forthcoming years.

Extensive Use of Internet for all Businesses to Shoot Up Demand in the Market

The internet is critical to infrastructures of various sectors, such as air traffic control, industrial control, military, and defense. As such, there has been increased investment for the development of technologies so as to deter cyber attacks. These factors are likely to support growth of the global cyber weapons market in the forthcoming years. Expansion of the traditional arms manufacturing companies in the cyber security systems and increasing demand for cyber weapons are likely to work in favor of the global cyber weapons market in the near future.

The global cyber weapons market is likely to exhibit rapid growth rate due to growing dependence on internet for all types of activities from business to government. Dependence on internet for wide range of activities make nation states vulnerable to cyber attacks, which is likely to foster development of the global cyber weapons market in the years to come.