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Oxford report released as part of World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting on Cybersecurity 2020


At their Annual Meeting on Cybersecurity this week, the World Economic Forum has launched a major report on work done by academics at The University of Oxford to identify the cybersecurity challenges faced by business leaders and the international community in preparing for the threats that emerging technology environments may bring.

A report created by Oxford researchers in collaboration with the WEF (sponsored by AXIS Capital) identifies systemic risks from the next generation technology. That will increasingly form the bedrock of the global digital economy.  The conclusion of the report is that the emerging cybersecurity risks will not be a simple continuation of current challenges, and incremental progress will not be sufficient to address them. It outlines a three-tiered approach for action:

  • First, the security and technology community needs to prioritize a number of interventions to improve the collective response that will be essential to cybersecurity operations and controlling cyber risk effectively within business and critical national infrastructures.

  • Second, industry and government leadership need to drive a set of policy actions that incentivize take-up of security solutions, and that underpin greater trust and transparency between different components of the ecosystem: to clarify issues of liability; to reduce friction in current assurance and regulatory models; and to promote international business and trade in data and digital services.

  • Finally, interventions are required from the international community to ensure that security issues are addressed in such a way that the benefits of emerging technology are inclusive, with particular regard to the needs of developing countries and the need for collective efforts to reduce cross-border cybercrime.

“The research points to the likelihood of systemic cyber-risks, and a potential cyber-resilience deficit if no action is taken,” said Professor Sadie Creese, University of Oxford. “It is important that organisations can confidently embrace new technologies and the benefits they bring, and that will involve a number of cybersecurity challenges to be met. The action required is broad. Success will be premised on strong leadership who understand the issues and can set an agenda which will encompass social responsibility and opportunities for economic growth.”

"The dynamics of cybersecurity are changing,” said Will Dixon, Cybersecurity Lead, World Economic Forum. “Broadly speaking, we have been doing cybersecurity the same way for the past 15 years and it’s not going to work anymore. What has changed is that now, the criminals of the future can easily exploit these emerging technologies and our growing interconnectivity at a scale not seen before. The good news is that there are ways to protect our personal data, mitigate the impact on global trade and security and ensure our society isn’t hit with another shock.”

Dan Trueman, Global Head of Cyber and Technology at AXIS Insurance: “AXIS is proud to continue our longstanding support of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science by sponsoring forward-looking research in the cyber landscape. It is vital to understand emerging risks in cyber security and data privacy as we usher in a new generation of technology. We are committed to leading the understanding of cyber risks through the AXIS Cyber Centre of Excellence and alliances with industry leaders.”


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