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The more pervasive the threat, the higher the economic implications: no wonder cybersecurity has come under the spotlight in recent months. What, exactly, is at stake? And should the C-suite take hold?

The booming business of industrial spies

Business October 27th, 2014, Philippe Richard / Strategy Consultant

Undercover ops, one of the darker sides of life, occasionally suffers from sudden exposure in the media, witness how the Concorde’s specification blueprints ended up in Russia or when US secret services used massive listening Big Ears (Echelon) to monitor official, supposedly privy phone exchanges. Yet, far from limiting its activities to the covert manoeuvers to access and analyse State secrets, the spy business today has refocused for some time now on industrial targets. The challenges and techniques used evolve constantly. In an open world, where information systems play an increasingly structuring role, the issue of how to protect sensitive data and technologies has now become a priority question.

The cybersecurity challenge

Business April 25th, 2014, Hervé Guillou / Chairman, Trust and Security Industries Council (France)

Cyber-threats are now becoming systemic in the world economy. Concern of all actors involved is rising, to the extent that it may lead to a global counter move against digitisation that would consequently have a huge negative economic impact. Notwithstanding progress in cloud computing and big data with, according to McKinsey, a generated annual income of between 9,600 and 21,600 billion dollars in the global economy. If the sophistication of cyber-attacks were to submerge the defensive capacity of States and organizations, we could fear more stringent regulations and policies that would in fact slow down innovation and growth.

For the world's economy to get full value from technological innovation, it must have a robust, coordinated approach to cybersecurity. A new report from the World Economic Forum and McKinsey looks at how that could happen.

Businesses are increasingly the victims of cyber attacks. These crimes are not only costly for the companies, but can also put their very existence at risk and may provoke significant externalities for third parties. The pace of innovation is escalating rapidly among threat sources, helped by an acceleration in the global proliferation of cyber expertise. Sharing information is a solution. What about insurance?

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