Cyber attacks have been listed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a major threat to business, ranking it amongst terrorism, migration and the spread of infectious diseases as serious global threats for 2016.
Developed economies that are reliant on connected technologies are most at threat, with their dependency a potential weakness likely to impact on businesses and those who use their services. The report states, ‘Everything is networked, and anything networked can be hacked’.
The report stresses that the increased media attention given to cyber attacks is fuelling these security fears, with Avid Life Media, Sony and the BBC all recent and high profile victims that underscore the point. Indeed, as the problem filters into the public consciousness and more people are affected, cyber security is likely to rise up the list of global security fears , with ever-more sophisticated and developed economies joining the list of countries whose businesses rank cyber crime as the most serious global problem in the years to come. Contributors to the survey from the USA, Germany and Japan ranked cyber security as their main concern.
The impending introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, intended to update and rationalise data protection laws across the European Union, is a timely response. Its focus on privacy by design, in which security is placed at the forefront of software development, may help to address many security problems and provide reassurance to those whose data is processed by the national and international organisations which are so often targeted by hackers.
Businesses that are proactive in their approach to data security, identifying their weaknesses before they are exploited by hackers and taking steps to protect their customers’ data, will be resilient in the face of the growing threats identified by the WEF.