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WEF: Cyber-Attacks a Major Global Risk for Next Decade

The vast majority of senior decision makers across the globe expect data theft and cyber-disruption to increase in 2019, according to the latest report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The annual Global Risks Report for 2019 uses interviews with risk experts, business leaders, academics and others to better understand the challenges facing the world economy.

Rising dependency on technology ensured cyber-related risk remained front-of-mind for respondents, both in the near and long-term.

Some 82% said they expect data and monetary theft attacks to increase in 2019, while 80% said the same for cyber-related disruption to operations and infrastructure.

A slightly smaller number anticipated an increase in fake news (69%), personal identity theft (64%) and loss of privacy to companies (63%).

Over the next decade, respondents placed data fraud/theft and cyber-attacks fourth and fifth in terms of most likely risks, while cyber-attacks and “critical information infrastructure breakdown” were placed seventh and eighth in terms of biggest potential impact.

“There were further massive data breaches in 2018, new hardware weaknesses were revealed, and research pointed to the potential uses of artificial intelligence to engineer more potent cyber-attacks,” the report noted. “Last year also provided further evidence that cyber-attacks pose risks to critical infrastructure, prompting countries to strengthen their screening of cross-border partnerships on national security grounds.”

Veeam’s regional VP for UK & Ireland, Mark Adams, claimed the report highlights the continued need for investment in cyber-threat mitigation.

“Spending time and money on thorough cybersecurity and disaster recovery planning is no longer evidence of being overly paranoid,” he added. “When disaster strikes, whether from a data breach or service outage, having these kinds of measures in place to rely on is what will separate successful businesses from struggling ones.”

However, the findings show a slight change from last year’s report, which listed cyber-attacks as the third most likely global risk.

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