Digital economy will hit a drastic slow down if cybersecurity issues are not addressed: warn experts at WEF

Cyber security was one of the prominent topics discussed at the recently concluded World Economic Forum at Davos.

As per a document released at the World Economic Forum (WEF), cyber attacks are increasing in volume, the threat landscape continues to expand, there is greater sophistication and attacker savviness and they are affecting an ever-greater number of individuals, institutions, enterprises and governments  round the globe.

Under such a scenario organisations are struggling to keep up with the cybercriminal community and therefore they are asked to expand their security policies and strengthen their firewalls.

Ransomware, social engineering, Darknet markets and – despite the security potential of blockchain – threats related to cryptocurrency etc are persisting concerns, as per law enforcement officers spoke at WEF. They also predicted that physical convergence of IoT, offensive AI, cloud computing, data security, and online channel threats will be “growth” areas for cybercrime in 2019.

Gartner predicts worldwide spending on Information Security will grow to $124 billion this year. And yet, in spite of all of that spending, some security researchers estimate that the cost of cybercrime will have quadrupled since 2015, reaching $2.1 trillion by the end of 2019 and outpacing spending on cybersecurity by over 16 times.

“More organisations than ever are conducting business online. An expanding digital footprint and increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks have created a growing urgency to secure that data and the resources organizations are deploying,’’ said the document released at the annual meeting at WEF.

Cybersecurity already may be a priority issue for enterprises. However, digital transformation, including cloud adoption, SD-WAN (software-defined networking in a wide area network) and IoT (Internet of Things) – are creating and expanding new and sometimes unexpected means of attacks, stated the document.

“Unless things change, we are looking at a potential crisis that could slow down our global digital economy and continues to put organisations and their customers and users at great risk,’’ as per Centre for Cybersecurity, an autonomous organisation operates under the auspices of the World Economic Forum with an aim to establish the first global platform for government, business, security experts, and law enforcement agencies to collaborate on cybersecurity challenges.

The first annual gathering of Centre for Cybersecurity at WEF called for action to fight the rise of cybercrime and overcome three major challenges: lack of trust, lack of cooperation, and a lack of adequate skills.

Ken Xie, Founder, President, and CEO of Fortinet, a California-based cybersecurity company said,  ``Collaboration and information sharing is critical in combating cybercrimes. Fortinet is the Founding Partner of the new Centre for Cybersecurity at WEF and it is our mission to secure the largest enterprises, service providers, and government organisations in the world.”

A team of experts from the investment community, who spoke at WEF also warned that as the cyber attack surface expands, incentivizing and measuring cybersecurity will become more difficult and important.