NewsJanuary 19, 2018 @ 2:50 PM

The World Economic Forum Reports Growing Cybersecurity Attack Statistics

Less than a week before political and business leaders descend on Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum has released a study with cybersecurity attack statistics that suggest cybercriminals will be a key topic during the three-day event.

According to the “The Global Risks Report 2018,” threats against industrial systems and critical infrastructure rank high among the major forces that could threaten international stability. Though the possibility of nuclear war and extreme weather topped the list, the report’s cybersecurity attack statistics indicated a major incident could happen in the next five years.

The work of cybercriminals has been growing in frequency, intensity and sophistication, according to the World Economic Forum. The report’s cybersecurity attack statistics included details on how threats such as NotPetya crippled some organizations to the tune of $300 million per quarter. In addition, technologies such as aviation systems can get hit by malware or other exploits an average of 1,000 times every month.

Other well-known cases cited in the report include the WannaCry incident from May 2017, but ransomware in general was called out among the statistics covered. Out of all the email that includes malicious code or some kind of phishing scheme, 65 percent was intended to take over a device and hold it hostage until a victim pays up.

The World Economic Forum is also concerned by threats against the Internet of Things (IoT) — an issue that was highlighted in last year’s report.

As Fortune pointed out, the World Economic Forum’s research divides risks into two categories: likelihood and potential impact. Whereas threats from cybercriminals are in the top five in the first category, they rank sixth in the latter.

While that ranking is still alarming, cybersecurity attacks statistics tend to reveal the severe effects on companies or industries rather than threats that affect entire populations. This year’s World Economic Forum may be the place where we learn whether the top minds in business and government believe that will change anytime soon.

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Shane Schick

Writer & Editor

Shane Schick is a writer, editor and speaker who focuses on how information technology creates business value. He lives in Toronto.