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Cyberattacks are third largest threat to global society over next 5 years

Cyberattacks are third largest threat to global society over next 5 years

The prospect of strong economic growth in the global economy in 2018 presents policy makers with the opportunity to address signs of severe weakness in numerous complex systems that underpin the world, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has stated.

The annual Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS) suggested that experts were preparing for another year of heightened risk. "Respondents see 2018 as a year when risk is increasing". Almost as high was the figure on the prospect of war between the world's major powers, with nearly 80% expecting an increase in risks associated with conflict.

"Cyber security is the issue most on the minds of boards and executives, given the visibility of state-sponsored attacks in an environment of increasing geopolitical friction", John Drzik, president of global risk and digital at Marsh, which contributed to the study, said in an interview.

"Another growing trend is the use of cyber attacks to target critical infrastructure and strategic industrial sectors, raising fears that, in a worst-case scenario, attackers could trigger a breakdown in the systems that keep societies functioning", the report said. Other threats that especially concern the roughly 1,000 experts in government, policy and business surveyed include cyberattacks, terrorist attacks and data fraud or theft.

Leaders and experts across the globe believe extreme weather events and natural disasters pose the likeliest threats to the world, according to a new report, and the likelihood of their occurrence makes them even more concerning than weapons of mass destruction.

"Extreme weather events were ranked again as a top global risk by likelihood and impact", Alison Martin, group chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group, warned.

Baby Moshe arrives at Foreigners Regional Registration Office in Mumbai
On Tuesday she accompanied the boy and his relatives as they arrived in Mumbai . Shortly after his arrival in the city, Moshe said he was happy.

Economic risks, on the other hand, feature less prominently this year, leading some experts to worry that the improvement in global GDP growth rates could lead to complacency about persistent structural risks in the global economic and financial systems. "The aggregate cost of cyberattacks is now estimated at more than US$1tn per year versus roughly US$300bn experienced in 2017 from losses to natural catastrophes, and that was a record year".

"A widening economic recovery presents us with an opportunity that we can not afford to squander, to tackle the fractures that we have allowed to weaken the world's institutions, societies and environment", Schwab said in a statement. Climate change is creating more frequent heatwaves, which will strain agricultural systems and raise the risk of breakdowns in the food supply, it added. At the same time cyber exposure is growing as firms becoming more dependent on technology. I think about the proliferation of interconnected devices-there's now today 8.4 billion of those out there, so already greater than the global population of 7.6 billion, and projected to grow to 20 billion in 2020, so that just widens the attack surface for companies to potential attacks. However, she believes we're now seeing a "too little, too late" response by governments and business to solving problems such as climate change.

"With the added context of the cost of suffering cyber-attacks set to rise, it was surprising to see in our recent survey of United Kingdom business leaders that only 38% said improving cyber security is a priority for their IT investment".

The report was released ahead of the WEF foundation's meeting in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, where more than 2,000 political leaders, economists and celebrity entertainers will gather next week for four days of speeches and panel discussion.

In a section on cyberattacks, the report said cyber breaches recorded by businesses have almost doubled from 68 per business in 2012 to 130 in 2017.

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