Cyberattacks surge amid accelerating pace of COVID-driven digitalisation: WEF study


PTI, Jan 18, 2022, 2:01 PM IST

Source: unsplash

 New Delhi: The accelerating pace of digitalisation, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a record-breaking year for cybercrime with ransomware attacks rising 151 per cent in 2021, and an average of 270 cyberattacks per organisation being faced, a new study showed on Tuesday.

The World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022’, released during its online Davos Agenda summit, further said that each successful cyber breach cost a company USD 3.6 million (nearly Rs 27 crore) last year, while the average share price of the hacked company underperformed NASDAQ by nearly 3 per cent even six months after the event in case of the breach becoming public.

The WEF said the global digital economy surged on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, but so has cybercrime and nearly 80 per cent of cyber leaders now consider ransomware a ‘danger’ and ‘threat’ to public safety.

At the same time, there is a large perception gap between business executives who think their companies are secure and security leaders who disagree.

Some 92 per cent of business executives surveyed agree that cyber resilience is integrated into enterprise risk-management strategies, but only 55 per cent of cyber leaders surveyed agreed. This gap between leaders can leave firms vulnerable to attacks as a direct result of incongruous security priorities and policies, the report said.

Even after a threat is detected, the WEF survey conducted in collaboration with Accenture, found that nearly two-thirds would find it challenging to respond to a cybersecurity incident due to the shortage of skills within their team.

Even more troubling is the growing trend that companies need 280 days on average to identify and respond to a cyberattack. To put this into perspective, an incident that occurs on January 1, may not be fully contained until October 8.

”Companies must now embrace cyber resilience — not only defending against cyberattacks but also preparing for swift and timely incident response and recovery when an attack does occur,” WEF Managing Director Jeremy Jurgens said.

Accenture Chair and CEO Julie Sweet said organisations need to work more closely with ecosystem partners and other third parties to make cybersecurity part of their ecosystem DNA, so they can be resilient and promote customer trust.

The survey also found that less than one-fifth of cyber leaders feel confident that their organisations are cyber resilient.

Also, they do not feel consulted on business decisions, and they struggle to gain the support of decision-makers in prioritizing cyber risks, while recruiting and retaining the right talent is their greatest concern.

Besides, nearly nine in ten see SMEs as the weakest link in the supply chain.

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