The pandemic continues to leave its mark on all levels of society, and for yet another year cybersecurity generates concern and takes centre stage in the Global Risks Report published by the World Economic Forum.

In the Global Risks Report 2022, the results of the latest Global Risk Perception Survey (GRPS) are shared in the context of the current global outlook intensified by COVID-19.

In this context, it is no longer news that organisations have experienced rapid digitisation, workers have shifted to remote working wherever possible, and at the same time, cybersecurity threats have increased. In 2020, malware and ransomware attacks increased by 358% and 435% respectively, outpacing the ability of organisations and individuals to prevent or respond to them.

On top of this, attacks have become more sophisticated and there has not been time to train enough professionals to meet the demand for cybersecurity experts.

Digital dependency as part of our routine makes us more vulnerable
Governments, societies and businesses increasingly rely on technology to manage everything from public services to business processes. Technology platforms, tools and interfaces connected through the internet are creating both a more complex cyber threat landscape and a growing number of critical points of failure. As society continues to migrate to the digital world, the threat of cybercrime is more present and costing organisations tens, even hundreds, of millions of dollars.

The increasing reliance on digital systems has accelerated the adoption of platforms and devices that enable the sharing of sensitive data with third parties: cloud services, application programming interfaces (APIs) and other intermediaries. These systems, while powerful tools for data and processing, add an additional layer of dependency on service providers.

Users will have to navigate the security vulnerabilities inherent in both the increased dependency and growing fragmentation in such complex technologies, often characterised by decentralisation and a lack of structured security measures.

Beware of ransomware
The attack landscape has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic: malware increased by 358% in 2020, while ransomware increased by 435%, with a four-fold increase in the total value of cryptocurrency received by ransomware addresses.

Moreover, technology in this regard has improved so much that ransomware allows even non-technical criminals to execute attacks, a trend that could intensify with the advent of artificial intelligence-based malware. In addition, cryptocurrencies have also enabled cybercriminals to collect payments with modest risk of detection or monetary recovery.

Invest in cybersecurity or spend on ransomware and restore image
When an attack occurs, companies will be forced to pay ever higher ransoms or suffer the legal, financial, regulatory and reputational consequences of cyber attacks. And the limit is no longer the organisation itself, but exposure to suppliers must also be assessed and managed to avoid falling victim to a serious incident. The impact of cyber-attacks could be financially devastating for companies that do not invest in protecting their digital infrastructure.

For these reasons, it is imperative that individuals, and especially organisations, invest part of their budget to improve their infrastructure and the cyber security of their organisation, while also establishing appropriate levels of technology governance.

What are Americans worried about? 

A diferencia de los países menos desarrollados, donde prima la preocupación por temas socio económicos, en Estados Unidos, los riesgos asociados al cambio climático son los más votados por los encuestados para este informe.