Forget nuclear war, terrorism, and climate change. According to the World Economic Forum, the three greatest threats to mankind are natural disasters, extreme weather and, you guessed it, cyberattacks. With so many aspects of modern day existence dependent on the Internet, the WEF’s Global Risks Report for 2018 cites ransomware as the greatest individual hazard.
While the report highlights the WannaCry and Petya attacks as recent examples, these exploits could look like small beer if critical infrastructure and industry become the main targets in future – potentially bringing countries to a standstill. The IoT is another area of concern, as there could be as many as 20 billion interconnected devices by 2020 – offering an insecure backdoor entry point for hackers.
The likelihood of cyber war on a global scale is also closer to becoming a reality, with an increased risk of wide collateral damage. While countermeasures are improving, it is vital that businesses, public services, and governments accept and understand the growing sophistication and scale of future attacks.