Anyone that thinks cyber intelligence is not one of the most challenging areas of national security is sadly mistaken. The expansive nature of the domain itself — and that must include the dark web — coupled with increased use of encryption are just two of many attributes that combine to challenge the global efforts of even the most advanced nations. Here are some interesting stats that further justify cyber intelligence’s mantle of being one of (if not the most) demanding national security sectors.

The cyber intelligence domain has seen dramatic growth. Currently about 50 percent of the world’s population is connected to the internet. In the past year, the Internet of Things grew at a rate of over 11,000 connected devices per minute. Now the concerning part of that figure — most of them have little or no cyber protection.

YouTube experiences over 9,500 videos viewed per minute. The value of digital media in 2016 was estimated to reach nearly $15 billion USD near-term. Add all of that up and you begin to see the magnitude of the environment in which cyber intelligence operates. To put all of this in context, consider that the data created in the last two years exceed the total volume of data created in the entire history of the human race. Now consider that current projections suggest that there will be approximately 1.7 megabytes of new information created every second for every human being on the planet by the year 2020.

It is no secret that cyber intelligence has been a challenge since its inception, and the challenge will increase substantially. The old adage of finding a needle in a haystack does not do this justice. Cyber intelligence will be like finding a needle in the Pacific Ocean — the largest and deepest body of water on the planet.

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