LONDON — Cybersecurity and space are emerging risks to the global economy, adding to existing challenges posed by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum said in a report Tuesday, AP reported.
The Global Risks Report is usually released ahead of the annual elite winter gathering of CEOs and world leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, but the event has been postponed for a second year in a row because of Covid-19. The World Economic Forum still plans some virtual sessions next week.
Here’s a rundown of the report, which is based on a survey of about 1,000 experts and leaders:
As 2022 begins, the pandemic and its economic and societal impact still pose a “critical threat” to the world, the report said. Big differences between rich and poor nations’ access to vaccines mean their economies are recovering at uneven rates, which could widen social divisions and heighten geopolitical tensions.
By 2024, the global economy is forecast to be 2.3 per cent smaller than it would have been without the pandemic. But that masks the different rates of growth between developing nations, whose economies are forecast to be 5.5 per cent smaller than before the pandemic, and rich countries, which are expected to expand 0.9 per cent.
The pandemic forced a huge shift — requiring many people to work or attend class from home and giving rise to an exploding number of online platforms and devices to aid a transformation that has dramatically increased security risks, the report said.
“We’re at the point now where cyberthreats are growing faster than our ability to effectively prevent and manage them,” said Carolina Klint, a risk management leader at Marsh, whose parent company Marsh McLennan co-authored the report with Zurich Insurance Group and SK Group.
Cyberattacks are becoming more aggressive and widespread, as criminals use tougher tactics to go after more vulnerable targets, the report said. Malware and ransomware attacks have boomed, while the rise of cryptocurrencies makes it easy for online criminals to hide payments they have collected.
While those responding to the survey cited cybersecurity threats as a short- and medium-term risk, Klint said the report’s authors were concerned that the issue wasn’t ranked higher, suggesting it’s a “blind spot” for companies and governments.