The World Economic Forum (WEF) has said that geopolitical instability in the current circumstances has increased the risk of catastrophic cyberattacks multifold. According to the WEF’s latest Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2023 report, over 93 per cent of cybersecurity experts and 86 per cent of business leaders believe there could be “a far-reaching, catastrophic cyber event is likely in the next two years”.
The WEF noted that the adoption of connected devices during the pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in cyberattacks and if left unchecked, the cost of cyberattacks will continue to rise, threatening a fragile global economy.
The report, which was launched at the WEF Annual Meeting 2023 in Davos, highlighted that there is a critical skills gap that is threatening societies and key infrastructure.
The report highlighted the need to address the shortage of talent and skilled experts in the field of cybersecurity. Some 34 per cent of cybersecurity experts said they lacked some skills in their team, with 14 per cent saying they lacked critical skills.
The problem is more pronounced in key sectors such as energy utilities, where nearly 25 per cent of cybersecurity experts said they lacked the necessary critical skills to protect their organizations’ operations. Expanding the cybersecurity talent pool is needed to solve this problem. Several successful cybersecurity skills programmes are under way around the world, but many have difficulty scaling to large numbers. Greater cross-industry collaboration and public-private are needed to overcome this.
Geopolitics is reshaping the legal, regulatory and technological environment.
“As global instability increases cyber risk, this report calls for a renewed focus on cooperation. All stakeholders from public and private sectors who are responsible for our common digital infrastructure must work together to build security, resilience and trust,” said Jeremy Jurgens, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.
The report, which was compiled in collaboration with Accenture, stated that the awareness and preparation through the report will help organisations balance the value of new technology against the cyber risk that comes with it.
The WEF, in its annual Global Risk Report 2023, noted that alongside a rise in cybercrime, attempts to disrupt critical technology-enabled resources and services will become more common, with attacks anticipated against agriculture and water, financial systems, public security, transport, energy and domestic, space-based and undersea communication infrastructure.
“The research shows that business leaders are now more aware of their organisations’ cyber risks, however, there is the need to go further to assessing and translating the business risk into actionable next steps across the entire organization. Long-term cyber resilience requires a closely coordinated team effort across the C-suite to gain a clearer view of the cyber risks so security can be embedded in all strategic business priorities and protect the digital core. As our digitally connected world expands, now is the time to build cyber resilient businesses for customers, employees and supply chain partners,” said Paolo Dal Cin, Global Lead, Accenture Security.
Investing in cybersecurity
The WEF in another report has called for increased consumer education through digital literacy campaigns, standardisation practices of cybersecurity measures, prioritising security by design and default (as opposed to reacting after the fact), and developing more agile policies to better address the quick-changing landscape of cybersecurity.
“Cyber attackers don’t rest with macro-economic challenges, they double down on them. There is no path to success that is not heavily driven by AI and automation. As companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys, the time for reimagining and investing in cybersecurity architectures – intelligent platforms – is now. Boards and the C-suite must embrace a strategy whereby cybersecurity is deeply embedded across the enterprise from operations to innovation,” said Nikesh Arora, CEO and Chairman, Palo Alto Networks.
The report noted that found at the company level, board-level executives are more likely to prioritise cyber risk and are more aware of their own role in addressing it. This has led to increased interaction with cybersecurity leaders, cyber leaders, business leaders, and boards of directors, but they are at different levels.
All too often, when security and business leaders discuss cybersecurity, the rapidly evolving contours of cyber risks get lost in translation. Chief information security officers may fail to convey the complex data they have gathered – on risk points, threat actors, mapping of criminal campaigns – into an accessible story that results in specific mitigating actions in their organisations.
“Boards should be presented with a cyber posture that resonates with customers’ and authorities’ expectations and helps address sectorial ecosystem challenges,” said Christophe Blassiau, Senior Vice-President, Cybersecurity & Global Chief Information Security Officer, Schneider Electric.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today