Cybersecurity Budgets Rise for Telecommunications & Tech

Telecommunications, media & technology companies have seen a rise their cybersecurity budgets
A Moody's report shows telecommunications, media and technology companies have seen an increase their cybersecurity budgets by 125% since pandemic

According to a recent report by Financial services company Moody's, Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) companies have seen their cybersecurity budgets soar, by 125% from 2019 to 2023. 

The surge in spending highlights the rising importance of strong cybersecurity measures in the digital landscape, with ever-evolving cyber threats. 

Yet, TMT leaders reported having a cyber manager and more cyber expertise at board level, than the global median. They also reported more frequent reporting to the CEO and to the board, on such matters.

TMT threat landscape 

The threat landscape of the TMT sector is rated in the medium-high cyber risk exposure.

Moody’s says these businesses are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks because they handle vast amounts of sensitive data, including:
  • Customer information
  • Financial records
  • Proprietary intellectual property.

With data extraction being one of the main purposes of an attack, for later ransoming for payment, a successful cyberattack can be costly.

Since 2018, T-Mobile has acknowledged eight data breaches, including an August 2021 attack that exposed personal data on at least 76.6m people.

According to another report by IBM, the average cost of a data breach in 2023 was US$4.45m, with as much as 50% of breach costs being incurred more than a year after the breach.

Equally, ransomware is on the rise. A 2023 report revealed by Akamai and Vanson Bourne revealed that ransomware attacks have doubled over the last two years. This exponential growth saw Ransomware Payments Exceed US$1bn in 2023.

Due to remote working practices spurred by the pandemic, the amount of entry points for these organisations have forced a rethink.

Perhaps consequently, Moody’s report revealed more than 90% of TMT respondents have standalone cyber insurance, up from 78% in the 2021 cyber survey. Most companies with standalone cyber insurance have broad coverage, including for business interruption, regulatory fines, reputational damage, ransom payments and incident response.

In a recent discussion with Nick Millward, Board Member and Consultant at the Mobile Ecosystem Forum, he shared how AI could change the future of the telecoms sector. 

“Telcos must navigate privacy risks, ensuring compliance and transparent data policies. Bias in AI algorithms needs proactive processes for fairness. Cybersecurity threats require robust protection for both data and AI systems,” he said. 

Nick shared that implementing robust cybersecurity measures would protect data integrity and user privacy. Likewise, businesses will benefit from fostering a culture of continuous learning and ethical decision-making among employees.

“AI-powered solutions will also bolster defences against evolving threats in mobile telecoms,” he said. “Machine learning algorithms will be used to analyse patterns and anomalies to detect and prevent cyber attacks in real-time, safeguarding sensitive data and ensuring user and brand privacy.”

Moody’s: AI Rollout Should be a ‘Balancing Act’ for FIs

In another in-depth report, Moody’s warned companies that a thorough implementation plan is vital should they want AI to be integrated into their organisation effectively. The pace of AI rollout represents a delicate balancing act, as integrating AI too quickly could increase the likelihood of faulty outputs, while moving too slowly may compromise any competitive advantage. 

Missteps can prove costly both financially for a businesses reputation, as seen in the case of Alphabet Inc’s Gemini Assistant, which inaccurately generated images at one stage. 

In Moody’s criteria for a risk-free AI model, having strong cybersecurity measures implemented was near-top of the list. 


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