Global Cyber​​attacks Rose 151% due to Growth in Digital Economy

  • A survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed an increase in cyber attacks on companies, as well as the distribution of malicious software.
  • Experts say that adopting cybersecurity plans is not enough, but that building resilience to these attacks must be part of business strategies.
  • Among the most attacked companies are cryptocurrency exchanges and DeFi due to the rapid adoption of cryptos around the world.

The growth of the digital economy on a global level and the effects from the covid-19 pandemic in the last two years produced a 151% increase in cyberattacks, according to a study carried out by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF report, called The Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022, said that in 2021, an average of 270 cyberattacks were registered for each organization, which meant a 31% increase compared to 2020.

The cost of these attacks to companies was $3.6 million, as they were forced to increase their spending on protection services. But for small and medium-sized companies, this cost was higher due to their financial vulnerability and lack of resources.

Approximately 80% of ransomware or malicious software attacks affected public security, according to the annual report “The Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022.”

"The accelerated pace of digitization, fueled by Covid-19, turned out to be a new annual record for cybercrime," highlighted the WEF.

For 80% of the cybersecurity leaders consulted, malicious software represents a danger and a threat to public safety. However, there is a wide gap between what business executives believe and what cybersecurity leaders think.

92% of business executives say they are prepared to face these attacks, but only 55% of cybersecurity experts think so. Such differences of opinion on such a high-priority matter can leave companies highly vulnerable to future cyberattacks, the study warns.

On the Flipside

  • Furthermore, after a cyberattack becomes public, “the hacked company’s average share price is estimated to underperform the NASDAQ by -3%, even six months after the event,” the report states.

Organizations can take up to 280 days on average to resolve a cyberattack, the report points out. That means that they will spend most of the year trying to find the flaw and adopting a proper protection shield to prevent further attacks.

“Companies must now embrace cyber resilience – not only defending against cyberattacks but also preparing for swift and timely incident response and recovery when an attack does occur,” said World Economic Forum Managing Director Jeremy Jurgens.

For her part, Julie Sweet, president and CEO of Accenture who collaborated in conducting the survey, highlighted the importance of cybersecurity for “all organizations at all levels.”

She also commented that:

“Organizations need to work more closely with ecosystem partners and other third parties to make cybersecurity part of an organization’s ecosystem DNA, so they can be resilient and promote customer trust."

And she added:

“This report underscores key challenges leaders face – collaborating with ecosystem partners and retaining and recruiting talent.”

The annual Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022 report was written using data collected from a survey of global cyber leaders as well as the Cyber ​​​​Outlook Series sessions carried out by the WEF during 2021, interviews from experts in the area, and other data from the agency’s reports and investigations.

Why You Should Care

  • Cybercrime, including theft and scams through Ponzi schemes and ransomware attacks, skyrocketed in 2021.
  • Among the most affected industries are cryptocurrencies, with crypto exchanges and DeFi as the main victims.


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