LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 16th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report analyzes the risks from societal fractures. “Cybersecurity failure” was identified as a top clear and present danger (0-2 years), coming in a number 4 (39% of respondents) on the list of most pressing dangers to the global economy. Dave Hatter, a cybersecurity consultant with Intrust IT says that our lives grow more and more integrated with the digital world every day.

“People still don’t seriously consider the amount of information they are giving up when they just download the first free app that comes along,” said Hatter. "They don’t understand how that information can be used for fraud down the line or to phish them and hack them."

The report said: “Business, government and household cybersecurity infrastructure and/or measures are outstripped or rendered obsolete by increasingly sophisticated and frequent cybercrime, resulting in economic disruption, financial loss, geopolitical tensions and/or social instability.”

Both the report and Hatter note that cybercrime remains a lucrative business.

“It’s not only real lucrative but has the additional benefits of you can now go out and easily find inexpensive or free hacking tools,” Hatter said.

There are several other issues that need to be addressed:

  • Widespread lack of cybersecurity expertise
  • Increased business dependence on third parties as automation and 5G networks become more widespread. Supply chain attacks will become a larger issue in this emerging interconnected ecosystem
  • Increasing impact of national security challenges on corporate cybersecurity strategies
  • Complex sets of exiting and proposed regulations
  • Difficulty of capturing and prosecuting cyber criminals at a distance
  • 4x increase in data by 2025. Data is increasingly valuable
  • Reliance on algorithms that can amplify societal fractures

The report noted that the United States has been the primary target of significant cyberattacks since 2006 along with other highly technologically advanced countries.

Hatter recommends that the use of strong and unique passwords for log-ins, enabling multi-step verification, and keeping up to date on software updates will be helpful for both personal and business online security.

“If you just do those things alone you’ll be a much harder target and be much more difficult for the bad guys to hack into your account,” said Hatter.