April 09, 2012, 12:01 PM —
Cyber-attacks have outrated nearly every other type of threat in a risk assessment published by the World Economic Forum, reiterating the importance of proactive security measures over the next 10 years.
The Global Risks 2012 report evaluated a range of risk factors to arrive at some assumptions about the types of risks organisations will face over the next decade. While there weren't as many technological risks identified as economic, environmental, geopolitical or societal risks, those that made the list were seen as significant.
Cyber-attacks were seen to be as risky as systemic corruption, mismanaged urbanisation and nearly as risky as terrorism, food shortages and recurring liquidity crises. They were also gauged to be the fourth most-likely risk factor out of 50 analysed, making them just slightly less likely than rising greenhouse gas emissions and on par with water supply crises.
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Also recognised in the analysis were technological risks such as critical systems failure -- which was considered to have as high an impact as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and nearly as bad as a major systemic financial failure.
The report collates the responses of 469 experts from industry, government, academia and civil society, and arranges the various risk factors in a relative matrix to paint an overall picture of technological and other types of threats.