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Why cybersecurity is a growing concern in digital marketing

The global cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $10.5trn by 2025.

Malicious threats to computer data go back to the 1940s, despite most people’s perception that cybercrime only started after Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web started its relentless ascent in the late ’80s.

Given that cybercrime also includes hacking non-networked computers, criminals have been exploiting weaknesses in systems since the first digital computer, ENIAC, was built during the Second World War.

The release of the ‘Inside the Mind of a Hacker’ report in 2023 by crowdsourced cybersecurity pioneer Bugcrowd offers a fascinating insight into cybercrime in the modern age.

Unsurprisingly, hacking is a young person’s game. Just 2% interviewed were over 45, while 57% were between 18 and 24. This suggested altruistic motivation may be good news for society in general, but not for the enterprises who spent an average of 9.9% of their IT budgets on cybersecurity last year.

It is estimated in the 2022 Official Cybercrime Report that the global cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8trn by the end of 2023 and will grow to $10.5trn by 2025, while the UK government suggests the economic cost of cybercrime to UK citizens is an eye-watering £3.1bn per annum and growing.

And as AI and generative AI in particular hit the mainstream, we can expect bad actors to take advantage more and more.

Martin Cheek, Managing Director of SmartSearch, a leading UK-based provider of AML software and digital compliance experts, claims automation in marketing is of concern.

“As a cybersecurity expert, I cannot stress enough the importance of cyber compliance and automation in today’s digital landscape. This refers to adhering to specific regulations and security practices to protect sensitive information from cyber threats. In the context of digital marketing, it becomes essential to ensure compliance not only to safeguard customer data but also to maintain a positive brand reputation.

“By adopting cyber compliance measures and integrating automation, organisations can demonstrate their commitment to data security, which can build trust with customers and partners. This is crucial in the digital marketing realm, where businesses heavily rely on customer data to deliver personalised experience.”

This much is true; the death of third-party cookies (tracking a user’s journey across multiple websites) may have been exaggerated – Google will be disabling them on just 1% of its base next year as a test – but first-party data is a vital commodity in marketing.

Alexandre Robicquet, CEO of Crossing Minds, suggests that first-party data is far more suitable for personalisation in the first place, especially when it comes to ecommerce.

“We will see e-commerce businesses increasingly make use of first-party data for true 1:1 personalisation. This form of data is much more valuable than what can be gleaned from third-party information. Whereas third-party data puts users into buckets based on stereotypes surrounding their age, location, or gender, first-party data is highly specified information about an individual provided directly and willingly to a business,” he says.

Download our latest cybersecurity report: Experts name the five latest trends

Gone phishing

Statista recently revealed the most commonly reported types of cybercrime used throughout 2022 and one stands out: Phishing. 

This action of sending fraudulent communications reportedly from reputable sources garnered more than 300,000 complaints.

Organisations and individuals are particularly susceptible to ‘bulk’ phishing, where the same dishonest messages are released en masse in the hope of snaring a few identity theft targets.

“Adhering to cyber compliance with automation can shield companies from potential legal and financial consequences resulting from data breaches. These risks are real, and being compliant helps mitigate them.

“Cyber compliance, along with automation, goes hand in hand with digital marketing, creating a secure foundation that allows businesses to thrive in the digital space while safeguarding both their assets and their customer’s trust,” concludes Martin Cheek.

According to the World Bank, the digital economy makes up more than 15% of global GDP and has grown 2.5 times faster than the GDP of the physical world since 2013.

And a recent report by Adobe shows how reliable and effective cybersecurity is key, with over half (57%) of consumers saying they would stop buying from a brand following a breach in trust.

For any innovative and savvy digital marketing campaign, cybersecurity is demonstrably a growing concern.