Amid the fast-paced, pandemic-driven digitalization across the globe, the world is facing cyber attacks led by ransomware like never before — an average of 270 attempts per firm – and the cost of breaches to an organisation amounted to an average of $3.6 million per incident last year, a World Economic Forum (WEF) study revealed on Tuesday.

Perhaps even more troubling is the growing trend that companies need 280 days on average to identify and respond to a cyberattack.

As many as 80 percent of cyber leaders stressed that ransomware is a dangerous and evolving threat to public safety, with 50 percent of respondents indicating that ransomware is one of their greatest concerns when it comes to cyber threats, according to WEF’s ‘Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022’, released during its online Davos Agenda summit.

“Ransomware attacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication, and this ever-present threat is keeping cyber leaders up at night. Ransomware attacks are followed by social engineering attacks as the second-highest concern for cyber leaders; number three on this list is malicious insider activity,” the report noted.

The ransomware attacks were up 151 percent in 2021. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seen as a key threat to supply chains, partner networks, and ecosystems.

“In our research, 88 per cent of respondents indicate that they are concerned about cyber resilience of SMEs in their ecosystem. Cyberleaders have indicated that clear and productive regulations are needed that would allow and encourage information sharing and collaboration,” said the report.

Additionally, rapid evolvement in threat actors’ techniques and capabilities are also leading towards advanced multistage ransomware.

“Moreover, the race between attackers and defenders is challenged by the rate of newly discovered and published security vulnerabilities in the most popular software tools and systems,” according to the report.

However, 81 percent of respondents believe that digital transformation is the main driver in improving cyber resilience. The accelerating pace of digitalization due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift of our working habits is pushing cyber resilience forward.

“Throughout the past year, we have received stark reminders that malicious cyber activity threatens our national and economic security and impacts the daily lives of individuals, communities and organisations around the world,” said US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas.

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