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Global Cybersecurity Outlook

Davos, Switzerland - The annual global cost of cyberattacks is expected to reach $6 trillion by 2021. This threat is one of the most important of our times, and goes beyond the numbers to affect supply chains, brands, and markets, President of the Observer Research Foundation and Chair of CyFy: The India Conference on Technology, Security and Society, Samir Saran, said this evening.

Saran was moderating a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum, which looked at the global outlook for cybersecurity.

Jürgen Stock, Secretary-General of Interpol, said there were several main challenges that impeded law enforcement. Among these was the fact that law enforcement is based on national sovereignty and national laws, while cybercrime knows no boundaries.

Another challenge Stock cited was a lack of capacity, while a lack of information sharing was also impeding efforts to clamp down on hackers. He explained that only five percent of all incidents are reported to police authorities and, without this information, global law enforcement battles to clamp down on cybercrime.

Collaboration and relationships are therefore critical, especially between countries that have similar legal systems. About 70 to 80 percent of Interpol’s 194 member countries have little to no capability to detect cybercrime, Stock said.

When information is shared, and there is cooperation, police action can be organised and has successfully shut down sites and tackled the underground economy, said Stock.

Laura Deaner, Chief Information Security Officer at S&P Global, added that private companies are generally the first responders to a cyberthreat and partnerships with government entities are therefore, vital. “Information sharing helps address attacks that we have not thought of.”

Fighting cybercrime within companies must start at the top, as the board should have an imperative to act on cyber issues, said Deaner also emphasising the importance of collaboration.

“We have to be a community; we have to be able to share that data as well as best practices.”

André Kudelski, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Kudelski Group, explained that the fundamental difference between the “good world” and the “bad world” is that the criminals are not impeded by regulation. Those who can use technology sooner, because they are not hindered by regulations or other aspects, will be more efficient, he said.

“As the world and supply chains become more fragmented, you have to find commonalitie. A global view, that surpasses boundaries, is vital to drive a company and cybersecurity strategy, otherwise companies will not be able to be proactive,” Kudelski.

Companies must understand where the attack may come from and at what time, as well as hackers’ motivations - which could range from economic to geo-political - to be able to address the issue, said Kudelski.

Deaner added that, when it comes to skills and the fight against cybercrime, “it shouldn’t just be about the cybersecurity people, but about everybody learning to do cybersecurity themselves”.