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World Economic Forum: Cyber crime and cyber insecurity a top global risk

By Cyber Talk Staff

On the eve of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting that convenes on January 16th, The Global Risks Report 2023, 18th Edition, was released. As expected, the current geopolitical tensions and numerous socioeconomic risks are duo of severe risks to economies and societies over the next two years. A Global Risk is defined as the “possibility of the occurrence of an event or condition which, if it occurs, would negatively impact a significant proportion of global GDP, population or natural resources.”[1]

The report identifies the return of “‘older risks’ such as inflation, cost-of-living crises, trade wars, capital outflows from emerging markets, widespread social unrest, geopolitical confrontation, and the specter of nuclear warfare.”[2] As is frequently covered on the pages of Cyber Talk is the growing impact of cyber attacks whether the attacker’s intent is criminal (i.e., ransomware payoffs) or disruptive (i.e., disabling of critical technology-driven industry infrastructures). Respondents in this report, pointed to widespread cyber crime and cyber insecurity as the top technological risk. And for the first time, this issue has cracked the top 10 rankings for global organizations over the next decade.

Cyber insecurity has a wide number of risk interconnections beyond illicit economic activity, including misinformation and disinformation, interstate conflicts, terrorist attacks, digital inequality, breakdown of critical information infrastructure, among others. As more of our lives (and personal data) become digitized, collected, commercialized, and shared, privacy risks continue to grow. Depending on your region, such as the U.S., data is sold on the open market with limited regulatory restrictions. In countries where data protection laws are weak, citizens can undergo even more severe abuse in violation of human and digital rights.

The WEF report mentions the reality of trade-offs between innovation and security. No one understands this more vividly than cyber security professionals who must protect their organizations without hampering business growth initiatives. And no innovation is discussed more broadly than the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). One source says investment in AI surged from $12.75 million in 2015 to $93.5 billion in 2021, and the market is projected to reach $422.37 billion by 2028.[3] With the recent release of ChatGPT in November of 2022, Generative AI is a key focus for innovators. Machine learning algorithms that can form new meaning from texts, images, audio, video, code, and other content is considered a major game-changing technological force. The next generation of chatbots, software coding, drug development, autonomous vehicles, smart robots, among other applications can be impacted. Gartner predicts 10 percent of all valuable data will be produced from an AI engine) by 2025.[4]  However, they also point out that AI can be misused for fraud, fake news, and identity forgery. Add to this list, the new discoveries by Check Point Research (CPR) that point to cyber criminals starting to use ChatGPT to build malware.

Check Point executives will be presenting at this year’s WEF Annual Meeting. Dr. Dorit Dor, Chief Product Officer will discuss how ransomware is not only a security problem, but it has become a core business continuity and reputational risk. Rupal Shah Hollenbeck, the Chief Commercial Officer will outline how to utilize Corporate Intrapreneurship to strategically drive value while increasing social and environmental equity. For further information, please visit this page.

[1] “The Global Risks Report 2023,” World Economic Forum, January 2023

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Finding a Business Case for Generative AI,” by David Linthicum, eWeek, January 10, 2023

[4] “Gartner Identifies the Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2022,” Gartner Group, October 18, 2021

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