Companies feel overwhelmingly more exposed to cyber crime now than they did twelve months ago, with some 81% of organisations polled by the World Economic Forum feeling more at risk today than the did last year.
The Global Cyber Security Outlook 2024 report, produced in partnership with Accenture, distils the insights of cyber professionals from around the globe on the key cyber trends that leaders will need to navigate in 2024, based on a series of surveys carried out between June and November 2023.
External partners are both the greatest asset and the biggest hindrance to the cyber security of any organisation, according to the findings; some 41% of the organisations surveyed reported a material incident caused by a third party in the last 12 months.
Commenting on the findings, Jürgen Stock, secretary-general of Interpol, said: “No country or organisation is spared from cyber crime, yet many are direly underequipped to effectively face the threats, and we cannot have effective global response mechanisms without closing the capacity gap. It is crucial that key stakeholders work collaboratively towards immediate, strategic actions that can help ensure a more secure and resilient global cyber space.”
Looking ahead, the increasingly stark divide between cyber-resilient organisations and those that are struggling has emerged as a key risk for 2024. The number of organisations that maintain minimum viable cyber resilience is down 30% compared with last year. While large organisations have demonstrated notable gains in cyber resilience, SMEs showed significant decline. And just 15% of all organisations are optimistic about cyber skills and education significantly improving in the next two years.
When it comes to AI, fewer than one in 10 respondents believe that in the next two years generative AI will give the advantage to defenders over attackers, and approximately half of experts surveyed agree that generative AI will have the most significant impact on cyber security in the next two years.
Jeremy Jurgens, managing director, World Economic Forum, Switzerland, commented: “As the cyber realm evolves in response to emerging technologies and shifting geopolitical and economic trends, so do the challenges that threaten our digital world. We urgently need coordinated action by key public-private stakeholders if we are to collectively address these complex, ever-evolving threats and build a secure digital future for all.”