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  • Thierry Spanjaard

World leaders set our cybersecurity roadmap

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is meeting this week in Davos, Switzerland. They take this opportunity to publish reports about the evolution of our world, especially focusing on global threats with a focus on cybersecurity, which constitutes the highest acknowledgement for our industry so far.

 



The WEF just published two major documents: the "Global Risks Report 2024" and the "Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2024," both documents are freely available on their website.

 

The most interesting is the Global Risks Report, which lists the major threats on a 10-year horizon. First four threats are the environmental threats, just after, #5 is "Misinformation and disinformation," #6 is "Adverse outcomes of AI technologies" and #8 is "Cyberinsecurity." When it comes to the 2-year horizon, they consider "Misinformation and disinformation" to be the highest risk.


What makes the WEF focus on disinformation is the fact that in 2024, half of the world population will be involved in critical elections. This includes votes for the European Parliament, US presidency, Russia presidency, as well as general elections in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, South Africa, Senegal, Mali, Chad and South Africa, among others.

Of course, AI is at the same time a tremendous opportunity and a risk according to the world leaders. AI has become a major tool for fake news buildup and dissemination. The WEF links these aspects to "Adverse outcomes of frontier technologies, Technological power concentration, Cyber insecurity and Censorship and surveillance", all leading to "Societal polarization."

 

Besides this list, the WEF report includes a section on high-stakes hotspots: the Russia-Ukraine war, the Middle East conflict and tensions over Taiwan, establishing that 2022 has been the worst year in this century when it comes to fatalities due to state -based armed conflicts. Economic uncertainty is also high as the near-term outlook remains highly uncertain due to domestic factors in some of the world's largest markets as well as geopolitical developments, they say.  


Interestingly the "Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2024" report stresses on cyber inequity, focusing on the lack of preparedness of small and medium organizations against cyber risks. This cyber inequity is fueled by factors such as lack of cybersecurity culture in small organizations and the global shortage of skills in this field. However, they conclude this part with a clear statement: "Affordability is a critical determinant of cyber-resilience success."

 

These reports become a significant addition to strategic planning processes for our industry. The secure transactions industry, which for most of its part now can be called the cybersecurity industry has its goals set: better security, AI supervision, technological tools against misinformation, cost reduction, etc. hoping our planet will not see more conflicts escalate in the coming years.



Image credits: Bing image creator - Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash and by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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