In its 2022 report on global risks (Global risk report 2022), the World Economic Forum (whose meeting is normally held every January in Davos) shows that the climate is the main concern of the 1000 experts and leaders (academics, business leaders, governments , NGO…) who were interviewed.
However, in this 17th edition two new risks have appeared: the threat of cyber attacks and the risk of clashes between States in space.
Cyber attacks, “a blind spot” for leaders?
With the pandemic, respondents believe that the erosion of social cohesion (27.8% of responses), crises of subsistence (25.5%), the failure of measures to save the climate (25.4%) , deteriorating mental health (23%) and extreme weather (22.7%) are the top five risks that have worsened.
The pandemic has also intensified our use of digital technology. However, “at the same time, cybersecurity threats are increasing and outpacing the ability of companies to prevent or respond effectively,” Carolina Klint, head of risk management at Marsh, said during a virtual press conference. co-author of the report with Zurich Insurance Group).
These cyberattacks could also have a geopolitical impact on relations between States: “Attacks targeting critical infrastructure, disinformation, fraud and digital security will have an impact on public trust in digital systems and will increase costs for all stakeholders. . As attacks become more serious and have a broader impact, already high tensions between governments affected by cybercrime and those complicit in it will rise, and cybersecurity will become a new factor of divergence, rather than cooperation between nation-states. Note from the authors of the report.
Among cyberattacks, malware and ransomware attacks have emerged, according to the report, while the rise of cryptocurrencies allows criminals to hide their misdeeds.
These cybersecurity threats are now well-identified as a risk by world leaders (ranked 7th in the short term), but the authors are concerned that they are not higher in threat rankings. That suggests it’s a “blind spot” for businesses and governments, according to Carolina Klint.
The space race, a new threat
Recent years have also seen “an increase in public and private activity” in the space, which now makes it “a new area of risk.” We can cite the recent operations of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s space tourism company, or Elon Musk’s Space X company, which launches a large number of satellites into space.
“The most immediate consequence of increased space activity is an increased risk of collision between near-Earth infrastructure and space objects, which could disrupt orbits on which key Earth systems depend, damage valuable equipment in space or trigger international tensions in an area where governance structures are rare”, warns the Global Risks Report.
Furthermore, “the growing militarization of space also risks heightening geopolitical tensions, particularly if space powers do not collaborate on new rules to govern the field.”
According to those surveyed, the exploitation of space is one of the areas where international collaboration is weakest.
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