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The Global Risks Report 2023: Emerging Technologies and Cyber Insecurity Pose New Threats to Society

What is Weforum Risk Report

The WeForum Risk Report 2023 is a comprehensive report published annually by the World Economic Forum that assesses the major global risks facing the world in the coming years. The report uses data from the Global Risks Perception Survey to identify and analyze the most pressing global risks in five categories: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological. The report also considers short-term (two-year) and long-term (10-year) risks, as well as emerging or rapidly accelerating risks. The 2023 report highlights the impact of current crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, as well as new developments in the global risks landscape, including unsustainable levels of debt, low global investment, and de-globalization, among others. One of the new entrants to the top 10 global risks is “widespread cybercrime and cyber insecurity,” which is expected to be a persistent threat and a strong driver of other risks in the coming years.

Cyber Insecurity and Emerging Technologies Pose New Threats to Society

The Global Risks Report 2023 warns that “Widespread cybercrime and cyber insecurity” is a new entrant into the top 10 rankings of the most severe risks over the next decade. As highlighted in last year’s Global Risks Report chapter ‘Digital Dependencies and Cyber Vulnerabilities,’ malicious activity in cyberspace is growing, with more aggressive and sophisticated attacks taking advantage of more widespread exposure. It was seen as a persistent threat by GRPS respondents as well as a strong driver of other risks.

The technology sector will be among the central targets of stronger industrial policies and enhanced state intervention, with research and development into emerging technologies continuing at pace over the next decade, yielding advancements in AI which is already happening, quantum computing, and biotechnology. These technologies will provide partial solutions to a range of emerging crises, from addressing new health threats and a crunch in healthcare capacity to scaling food security and climate mitigation. However, for those that cannot afford it, inequality and divergence will grow.

In all economies, these technologies also bring risks, from widening misinformation and disinformation to unmanageably rapid churn in both blue- and white-collar jobs. The rapid development and deployment of new technologies, which often comes with limited protocols governing their use, poses its own set of risks. The ever-increasing intertwining of technologies with the critical functioning of societies is exposing populations to direct domestic threats, including those that seek to shatter societal functioning. Alongside a rise in cybercrime, attempts to disrupt critical technology-enabled resources and services will become more common, with attacks anticipated against agriculture and water, financial systems, public security, transport, energy, and domestic, space-based and undersea communication infrastructure.

The report highlights that technological risks are not solely limited to rogue actors. Sophisticated analysis of larger data sets will enable the misuse of personal information through legitimate legal mechanisms, weakening individual digital sovereignty and the right to privacy, even in well-regulated, democratic regimes. Digital tools such as increasingly sophisticated AI applications, interoperable edge computing, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and autonomous technologies underpin the functioning of cities and critical infrastructure today and will play a key role in developing resilient solutions for tomorrow’s crises. Yet, these developments also give rise to new challenges for states trying to manage the existing physical world and this rapidly expanding digital domain.

The abundance of data-collecting devices and data-dependent AI technologies could open pathways to new forms of control over individual autonomy. Individuals are increasingly exposed to the misuse of personal data by the public and private sector alike. The report also highlights that Digital rights such as privacy are under threat.

Not a surprise – The Rising Threat of Cybercrime on Individuals

This should come as no surprise considering the staggering number of cybercrimes that have taken place in the last few years. A report from Surfshark shows that 2.5 billion accounts have been breached since the start of 2020, and 323,972 individuals fell victim to phishing scams in 2021 alone.

The consequences of cybercrimes are dire, and not just for businesses. Common people and individuals are also at risk of becoming victims of cybercrimes. According to Surfshark, cybercrimes cost $787,671 per hour, and on average, 97 victims are targeted every hour. The majority of these cybercrimes go undetected and unreported due to social stigma and embarrassment.

Cybercrimes can have devastating effects on individuals. It is not just about losing personal data or money; cybercrimes can also result in the loss of privacy, security, and identity. With more and more of our personal information available online, it has become easier for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities and gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Phishing scams are one of the most common forms of cybercrimes. Cybercriminals use social engineering tactics to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. With this information, they can commit identity theft, financial fraud, and other malicious activities.

The rise of cybercrimes can be attributed to the increasing digitalization of our lives. While technology has brought many benefits, it has also created new risks.


  1. Surfshark Cybercrime Statistics:
  2. Weforum Global Risk Reports 2023: