Just 4% of experts worldwide are “confident” that connected devices are properly secure, warns WEF

Adoption of connected devices during the pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in cyberattacks, according to a report launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 in Davos.

If left unchecked, the cost of cyberattacks will continue to rise, threatening a fragile global economy, it warns.
The report, a collaboration of the World Economic Forum with the Council on the Connected World, says the immediate threats can be mitigated through robust security protocols and governance through public-private cooperation.

Cyberattacks increased during the pandemic as rapid adoption of connected devices became critical for work, education and healthcare.

Security is lagging

Despite the ongoing threat, safety protocols lag far behind the escalating cost to the global economy caused by cyberattacks, which is predicted to rise from $8.44 trillion in 2022 to $23.84 trillion by 2027

Just 4% of experts worldwide are “confident” that connected devices are properly secure.

“Our increasingly connected existence brings with it vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors,” said Akshay Joshi, head of Industry and Partnerships, Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum.

“Despite calls for embedding cybersecurity by design, the low level of confidence in the security of connected devices expressed by experts in this report is a testament to the fact that we still have a long way to go in terms of realising trust in the technology we use.”
The report calls for increased consumer education through digital literacy campaigns, standardisation practices of cybersecurity measures, prioritising security by design and default (as opposed to reacting after the fact) and developing more agile policies to better address the quick-changing landscape of cybersecurity.

Perfect storm brewing

Massive growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) is anticipated for the year ahead at a time when ransomware attacks have risen by 30%, cyber insurance capacity is reducing and the cost of cover continuing to rise. 

Along with challenging economic conditions, these dynamics are coming together to create a ‘perfect storm’ according to Peter Nicoletti, field chief information security officer of the Americas, Check Point Software Technologies. 

“Planned spending on a security programme costs less than unplanned spending by 10 to 100 times, so it really makes sense now to evaluate and redouble your efforts to attain and maintain a mature programme,” he added.

The growing reliance on connected devices and related technologies have made organisations, governments and individual users increasingly susceptible to cyberthreats.

The first half of 2021 recorded 1.5 billion IoT-targeted attacks globally, while data breaches increased by 15.1% from the previous year.

These attacks can generate sizeable consequences for individuals and businesses. For example, the financial impact of ransomware attacks is forecast to cost the world $7 trillion in 2022, making cybercrime the world’s third largest economy after China and the United States.