WEF: Cyber-Attacks Are Biggest Business Risk in Europe and US

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Cyber-attacks remained the biggest perceived risk of doing business for executives in North America and Europe, and second globally, according to an annual World Economic Forum (WEF) report published yesterday.

Compiled from the responses of over 12,900 executives in 133 countries, the Regional Risks for Doing Business 2019 report outlines “the five global risks that you believe to be of most concern for doing business in your country within the next 10 years.”

Cyber-attacks were pegged as the biggest risk by CEOs in six of the world’s 10 largest economies: the US, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Canada, as well as Italy and six other European countries.

Data fraud or theft was put in seventh place in terms of most concerning business risks for global respondents.

“The fact that cyber-threats worry the business community as much as they do academia, civil society, governments and other thought leaders shows just how disruptive this risk is to all aspects of life,” the report noted.

“As economies and societies continue to digitize, cyber-attacks are both more lucrative for attackers and more dangerous for victims.”

The WEF report highlighted the emergence of “formjacking” or Magecart attacks, alongside cryptojacking and the persistent threat of ransomware including the major losses suffered by Norsk Hydro as contributing to CEO unease over cyber-threats.

Some 61% of European businesses reported cyber-incidents in 2019 compared to 45% the previous year, according to insurer Hiscox.

In the US, the report pointed to a spate of ransomware attacks on local government authorities across the country and concerns over the security of election systems.

“Cybersecurity remains the most concerning risk to business leaders in advanced economies, and growing technology dependence for many businesses will only amplify this,” argued John Drzik, president of global risk and digital at Marsh.

“Combined with fractious geopolitical developments, and growing economic concerns, executives face a very challenging portfolio of potential threats. Business leaders should re-evaluate their underlying view of the global risk environment and make greater efforts to strengthen their corporate agility and resilience.”

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