Yesterday saw the release of the 15th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report. According to the report, both sets of respondents to the Global Risks Perception Survey—the multi-stakeholder community and the Global Shapers—identify cyber-related issues, such as cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and data fraud or theft, within the list of top 10 short and long-term risks.
This year’s WEF Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS) resonates with my own concerns that a serious cyberattack against critical infrastructure is imminent, with the report rating it the fifth top global risk in 2020.
The prospect of attackers turning the lights off, manipulating the water supply or bringing cities to a crashing halt may seem unrealistic, but we’ve seen evidence of threat actors testing their capabilities in all corners of the globe. It should come as no surprise that 76% of respondents in WEF’s study said that they expect disruption of operations and infrastructure from cyberattacks to increase in 2020.
As the world seeks continued growth and competitiveness in the global economy, we’re seeing many new projects take off, including building modern factories that are highly automated. But this innovation can’t happen without a good grasp of the security and integrity of the digital components those factories rely on.
Of course, it’s not just about stopping bad actors from damaging these mission-critical services, as experienced in cities across the world, it\’s also about preventing them from getting a foothold in our environments to cause harm, be it physical, data theft or financial gain. That’s also a concern of 75% of respondents in the WEF study who said they expect cyberattacks that result in financial or data theft to increase in 2020.
Everyday we read reports of crippling cyberattacks affecting organisations’ ability to function around the globe. It has never been more apparent that cybersecurity underpins today’s digital economy and, without it, our very way of life is at risk. In fact, cyberattacks were ranked the second most concerning risk for doing business globally over the next 10 years. The future is challenging for all of us, particularly in the face of increased cyberthreats, but that doesn’t mean we can’t secure our critical infrastructure, ensure the integrity of our systems and protect our data. Those of us in the cybersecurity space have been advocating the need for action for years and the call must not go unanswered any longer.