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Cyber threat No. 1 concern of US, Canadian businesses


Business leaders in the U.S. and Canada are increasingly worried about risks associated with cyberattacks, according to a study published Tuesday by the World Economic Forum together with Zurich Insurance Group and Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., Zurich said in a statement Tuesday.

Some 13,000 business executives were asked to select “the 5 global risks that you believe to be of most concern for doing business in your country within the next 10 years,” from a list of 30, the statement said.

U.S. executives’ top five picks in 2019 were cyberattacks, data fraud or theft, terrorist attacks, critical information infrastructure breakdown, and failure of critical infrastructure, the study showed.

This differed slightly from 2018’s list of cyberattacks, terrorist attacks, data fraud or theft, fiscal crises, and weapons of mass destruction, the study showed.

Canadian executives also pegged cyber threats as their top concern but differed down the list from the Americans, with the top risks in 2019 as cyberattacks, data fraud or theft, extreme weather events, energy price shock, and failure of regional and global governance.

This also differed from the Canadians’ 2018 list of cyberattacks, asset bubble, extreme weather events, energy price shock, and failure of critical infrastructure, the study showed.

Cyber threats, however, placed second on the global list of concerns, the report showed.

The top 10 business risks of highest concern globally were fiscal crises, cyberattacks, unemployment or underemployment, energy price shock, failure of national governance, profound social instability, data fraud or theft, interstate conflict, failure of critical infrastructure, and asset bubble.

In Eurasia, where the top risk was profound social instability, data fraud or theft was seventh and cyberattacks did not make the top 10.

“Societal risks are the top concern for businesses in the region, followed closely by economic risks,” the study said.

In Europe, however, cyberattacks was the top concern, with data fraud or theft sixth.

In Latin America, failure of national governance was the top concern, data fraud or theft was ninth, and cyber did not make the top 10.

“Institutional fragility and societal discontent continue to worry the business community across Latin America, as do interrelated economic concerns,” the report said.

The United States, China and Japan are the world’s three largest economies, according to the report, with 2018 global GDP shares of 23.9%, 15.9% and 5.8%, respectively, the report said, using data from the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the International Monetary Fund.

“Cybersecurity remains the most concerning risk to business leaders in advanced economies, and growing technology dependence for many businesses will only amplify this,” John Drzik, president of global risk and digital at Marsh, said in the statement.

In addition to strategic partners Zurich and Marsh, the World Economic Forum also acknowledged academic advisers the National University of Singapore; Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford; and Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, University of Pennsylvania.





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