Cybersecurity Over the Next Decade
The Global Risks Report, recently published by the World Economic Forum, has put cybersecurity as a key risk factor along with the climate crisis, global debt and the COVID-19 pandemic. They labelled cybersecurity failure and IT infrastructure breakdown as two of the “highest likelihood risks” of the coming 10 years.
39% of cybersecurity experts surveyed for the report said that cybersecurity failure was a critical global threat, competing with extreme weather, livelihood crises and infectious disease. Around half of the respondents said this threat was due to be a concern for at least the next 3 – 5 years.
Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly commonplace and is pertinent at a global level. Data from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies reports that the US is the country most at risk of cyberattacks, with 156 “significant” cyberattacks between 2006 and 2020.
The UK, India, Germany and South Korea have also undergone a large volume of significant attacks. These cyberattacks are happening daily spanning sectors from hospitals, schools and governments and we are not equipped to handle it.
The world has become increasingly digitalised, not least in part to last year’s shift to a remote workforce. This has left many vulnerable to complex cyberattacks which are becoming increasingly advanced.
These, in turn, have the potential to affect every type of business currently operating in the digital sphere. Policy and government intervention has struggled to keep up with these changes in complex cyberattacks meaning that they are becoming increasingly common and increasingly sophisticated.
The role of cybersecurity experts becomes more essential, using companies like Jumpsec to help test companies and their infrastructure from future attacks. The use of red teaming or penetration testing is often used as a means of protecting a company from being on the wrong side of a cyber attack.
The Risk report said: “Business, government, and household cybersecurity infrastructure and/or measures are outstripped or rendered obsolete by increasingly sophisticated and frequent cyber crimes, resulting in economic disruption, financial loss, geopolitical tensions and/ or social instability”.
Intersection with Other Crises
Cybersecurity, whilst existing as its own entity, also intersects with most, if not all, other risks in the report because of the ubiquitousness of the digital world. CEO of Vulcan Cyber, Yaniv Bar-Dayan, described a direct correlation between cybersecurity and terrorist attacks as well as weapons of mass destruction. The definition of ‘weapons’ no longer refers to merely physical weapons.
Bar-Dayan explains: “fortunately, we have more control over cybersecurity risks than we do over other threats like infectious diseases and extreme weather events. But the IT security industry must be much more diligent and proactive in improving the cyber hygiene of our digital infrastructure. It isn’t easy, but it is very possible to protect ourselves from the inevitable repercussions of at least one of these major threats on the global risk horizon.”