Global Risks Report: Only Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters are More Likely than Cyber Attacks

Global Risks Report: Only Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters are More Likely than Cyber Attacks

We’re all aware of the threat of hurricanes, but many aren’t aware that the threat of cybersecurity attacks lurch just behind weather risks and natural disasters when you stack rank threats by likelihood.

The Global Risks Report 2018 report compares a slew of wide-ranging global risks from war and climate change to water crisis, terrorist threats, and cyber attacks. It shows us where our biggest risks lie and reflects the perceptions of hundreds of experts in the World Economic Forum’s constituencies.

While the report is a deluge of frightening facts, this update is arguably the scariest:

The threat of cyberattacks is rising to the top of the Global Risks Landscape and now ranks #3 on the list in terms of likelihood. Only extreme weather events and natural disasters now outrank cyber.

The truth is that cyber threats--much like weather events--are likely, uncontrollable, and inescapable. Governments, businesses, organizations, and citizens in most parts of the world face all the same dangers. Cyber threats cross all organizational boundaries.

But what’s even scarier?

As cloud services and the Internet of Things continues to connect and multiply the complexities of our technology infrastructure, isolating cyber threats becomes ever more challenging.

The Cascade of Effects are Difficult to Escape

Cyber dependency is a global trend in a world where digital businesses reside in increasingly connected, smarter, and more automated environments. That means that an entity’s risk is increasingly tied to that of other entities and systems, making it harder to fully protect information.

Global system interconnections increase risk as the report explains: “When a risk cascades through a complex system, the danger is not of incremental damage but of “runaway collapse”—or, alternatively, a transition to a new, suboptimal status quo that becomes difficult to escape.”

Heighten Your Defenses

Other top officials are echoing the Global Risks Report. During a 2018 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, the U.S. Government Director of National Intelligence followed suit, putting cyber on the top of the list of threats facing the country--outpacing even terror attacks. He warned senators of cyber as an instrument of power shaping societies and markets, international rules, and crossing all institutional boundaries.

Experts are sounding the alarms, creating a call to action to raise your defenses. This year, concerns are increasing, and businesses, organizations, and citizens across the world are elevating the issue.

While awareness is a good, improved preparedness to face these attacks is needed. If there’s a sliver of sunshine in this scary story, it’s that defenses can be improved.

Three Areas of Improvement for Every Entity

It’s unlikely that every organization can prevent every cyber attack, but companies should emphasize methods to identify and effectively mitigate them by streamlining mechanisms for:

  • Security assessment
  • Early detection
  • Rapid response

For most enterprises, CISOs and security leaders need to make additional investments to cover all three of these initiatives effectively. Managed security service providers can help expand the depth and breadth of your defenses with an integrated set of security systems as well as 24/7 monitoring for a more comprehensive approach to security.

Security Assessment: Security improvement plans depend on tools and tasks that assess risks and fill security gaps. Key strategies include comprehensive security audits, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and outside security teams that can expand personnel resources. Virtual CISO programs that address compliance and risk management are particularly effective at making strategic advances in your overall security posture.

Early Detection: Effective Managed Security services unite man and machine to thwart threats before they do extensive damage. Machine learning and behavioral analytics are critical components in strengthening proactive security strategies, because they help correlate data to recognize today’s sophisticated attacks more quickly. Cloud workload protections should also be part of a comprehensive managed detection and response strategy to help defend virtual machines, cloud operating systems, and containers.

Rapid Response: Accelerating your reaction time often requires the help of managed detection and response services including certified security experts who offer 24/7 network and security monitoring and provide actionable intelligence to mitigate threats. Keys for success include using best practices for incident response and well-defined processes customized to work with your unique requirements.

It might be a scary world, but your enterprise is a lot safer with the right protections and partners in place.

Connect with a Masergy security expert for help understanding your biggest cybersecurity risks and assistance in reducing them.

About Craig D' Abreo

VP, Security Operations, Masergy
Craig oversees the Managed Security, Threat Intelligence and Security Professional Services departments at Masergy. He is responsible for Masergy’s proactive enterprise cybersecurity threat management and operations program. Craig holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an MBA in Information Security. He is a Certified Information Security Systems Professional (CISSP) with over a decade of experience in the security industry and holds various network security certifications. He has written on various security blogs, spoken on a range of industry panels and is a recognized thought leader in the cybersecurity space.