- A cyber event — such as ransomware, data breaches and IT disruptions – has become the top concern for U.S. businesses, replacing business interruption, according to the annual Allianz Risk Barometer, released Tuesday.
- Cyber events are a leading global concern of businesses for the third-consecutive year, Allianz found. Business interruption and natural catastrophes round out the top three.
- The report is based on the responses of 3,069 risk management experts from 92 countries and territories worldwide. Most were from large- to mid-sized companies, however 30% represented small businesses.
The results indicate a growing fear in the U.S. and internationally that the rising sophistication of cybercriminals and state-linked actors will exceed private industry's defense capabilities.
There's also fear that ransomware, data breaches and attacks on critical infrastructure can lead to severe disruptions to major businesses and critical infrastructure providers.
“Cybercriminals are exploring ways to use new technologies such as generative artificial intelligence to automate and accelerate attacks, creating more effective malware and phishing,” said Scott Sayce, global head of cyber at Allianz Commercial, as part of the report.
Cyber was last considered the top U.S. risk in 2020, according to Allianz officials.
The report shows about 3 in 5 respondents worldwide consider data breaches the top cyber concern. This is followed by attacks on critical infrastructure and physical assets at 53%.
Among the factors driving the rising concern are the continued worldwide shortage of qualified cyber and IT professionals, poor cybersecurity and hygiene in the mobile space and the potential vulnerabilities of small businesses, many of whom rely on outsourced security services.