Editorial

World Economic Forum: “COVID-19 shows that the world is at great risk of disruption by Pandemics, cyberattacks or environmental tipping points”

We should prepare for a COVID-like global cyber pandemic that will spread faster and further than a biological virus – with an equal or greater economic impact, warns the group

Posted 2 June 2020 by

As far as The World Economic Forum is concerned – we ain’t seen nothing yet, and that COVID-19 and Lockdown should really be seen as a dress rehearsal for what could actually come along after… and be a lot worse.

The warning comes via a new post on the organisation’s website which recommends that, “We should prepare for a COVID-like global cyber pandemic that will spread faster and further than a biological virus, with an equal or greater economic impact.”

(c) Shutterstock

The piece goes on to say that it would be “comforting but wrong” to think that we’re going to go back to what went before and that the Lockdown is merely a “blip” interrupting an essentially stable state of affairs, and that the world will return to “normal” once medicine and science have tamed the virus. 

In actuality, the crisis shows that the world is far more prone to disturbance by pandemics, cyberattacks or environmental tipping points than history indicates – and that, “Our ‘new normal’ isn’t COVID-19 itself – it’s COVID-like incidents and a Cyber Pandemic is probably as inevitable as a future disease Pandemic.”

To crystallise its arguments, the authors say we should take these “lessons” from the crisis:

  • A cyberattack with characteristics similar to the coronavirus would spread faster and further than any biological virus
  • The economic impact of a widespread digital shutdown would be of the same magnitude – or greater – than what we’re currently seeing
  • Recovery from the widespread destruction of digital systems would be extremely challenging.

In conclusion, says WEF, “Perhaps the most important lesson is that COVID-19 was a known and anticipated risk.

“So, too, is the digital equivalent.”

Let’s be better prepared for that one.