Cyberattacks Ranked the Third Greatest Global Risk in 2018: WEF

A new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) has determined that nation’s reliance on connected devices and the wider internet means the potential damage from cyberattacks is among the biggest threats facing the world today.

According to WEF’s Global Risks Report 2018, the threat of cyberwarfare and cyberattacks affecting the public is the world’s third greatest threat, after natural disasters and extreme weather events.

The executive summary of the report says cybersecurity risks is growing and an ever-present, both “in their prevalence and in their disruptive potential.” Cyberattacks targeting businesses have doubled over the last five years while ‘extraordinary’ incidents like megabreaches are becoming commonplace, the report added.

An excerpt from the report added:

The financial impact of cybersecurity breaches is rising, and some of the largest costs in 2017 related to ransomware attacks, which accounted for 64% of all malicious emails.

Citing the notable example of the WannaCry attack, a sweeping ransomware menace that affected some 300,000 computers across 150 countries and the NotPetya attack which caused losses of $300 million for a number of businesses, cyberattacks have also targeted strategic industrial sectors and critical infrastructure. “In a worst-case scenario, attackers could trigger a breakdown in the systems that keep societies functioning,” the report added, pulling no punches.

The report builds on last year’s warning about the threat of insecure IoT devices. “Cybercriminals have an exponentially increasing number of potential targets, because the use of cloud services continues to accelerate and the Internet of Things is expected to expand from an estimated 8.4 billion devices in 2017 to a projected 20.4 billion in 2020,” the report added.

Image credit: LIFARS archive.