Cyber-attacks enters top three global risks - WEF

According to the Global Risks Report 2018, the rosy economic backdrop represents a "golden opportunity" for the world's leaders to deal with the growing crop of risks that are facing the global economy and society.

The 2018 report presents the results of the Forum's latest Global Risks Perception Survey, in which almost 1,000 experts and decision-makers assess the likelihood and impact of 30 global risks over a 10-year horizon.

According to the survey, out of about 1,000 respondents interviewed for their views about the trajectory of risks in 2018, 59 per cent of their answers pointed to an intensification of risks, compared with seven per cent pointing to declining risks. Nearly all respondents (93 percent) believe political or economic confrontations between nations will get worse in 2018, with nearly 80 percent of experts saying that war is a very real possibility.

A survey of almost 1,000 business leaders, politicians and academics by the World Economic Forum (WEF) also reveals there is increasing concern over the possibility of new wars breaking out this year.

Cyber attacks and data fraud or theft failed to enter the list of top 5 global risks in 2018 in terms of impact (environmental risks mostly took those spots), but cyber threats are growing in prominence, while rising cyber-dependency is ranked as the second most significant driver shaping the global risks landscape over the next 10 years.

Among the chief concerns are several related to the environment, including extreme weather events and natural disasters. Among the 30 global risks, the experts were asked to prioritize in terms of likelihood and impact, all five environmental risks -extreme weather; biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; major natural disasters; man-made environmental disasters; and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation - were ranked highly. Extreme weather events and climate change are raising the risks of natural disasters.

"A widening economic recovery presents us with an opportunity that we can not afford to squander", said Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Cyber risk has not only struck the corporate sector (highlighted by 2017 events like Petya and WannaCry), but has also impacted infrastructure, the geopolitical sphere, economies and societies more generally.

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"Together we have the resources and the new scientific and technological knowledge to prevent this".

"Above all, the challenge is to find the will and momentum to work together for a shared future", said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, WEF.

The risk of cyber attacks also climbed in the rankings, something likely to cross over with geopolitical risks in the form of state-sponsored attacks, experts said. At the same time cyber exposure is growing as firms becoming more dependent on technology.

Therefore, there is a need for greater investment in cyber-risk management, he added, suggesting "we are still under resourced in the amount of effort put into trying to mitigate this risk".

Aside from suffering disruptions, organisations have also suffered huge losses as a result of persistent cyber attacks. Unfortunately, we now observe a "too-little-too-late" response by governments and organizations to key trends such as climate change... "Cyber risks put the regulatory frameworks under pressure as they to adapt to these new high-frequency and high-risk economic threats".

Giant billboards of Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling the world that India means business will greet 70 heads of state and 38 global CEOs at the World Economic Forum meet from January 23 to 26 in Davos, a Swiss resort that hosts 3,000 guests for the world's most exclusive annual networking party.

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