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Preventing the 'digital dark age'

WEF says urgent action is needed to create safe operating environments for new technologies like AI, robotics and drones

Centre will provide a platform to diminish the impact of malicious activities on the web
Centre will provide a platform to diminish the impact of malicious activities on the web

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has unveiled plans for a Global Centre for Cybersecurity to help create safe operating environments for new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, drones, self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT).


According to WEF, cyber-security is one of the “world’s most critical risks” as it warns the cost of cyber crime to the global economy could reach $500bn annually.


The new centre will be based in Geneva, Switzerland, and will function as an autonomous organisation under the auspices of WEF, which made the announcement at Davos.


The aim of the centre is to establish the first global platform for governments, businesses, experts and law enforcement agencies to collaborate on cyber-security challenges. As a truly borderless problem, cyber attacks are surpassing the capacities and institutions that are currently dealing with this threat in an isolated manner.


Only through collaboration, information exchange and common standards can the global community successfully counter organised digital crime, WEF said.


“If we want to prevent a digital dark age, we need to work harder to make sure the benefits and potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are secure and safe for society,” said Alois Zwinggi, managing director at WEF and head of the Global Centre for Cybersecurity.


“The new Global Centre for Cybersecurity is designed as the first platform to tackle today’s cyber-risks in a truly global manner.”


New technologies like AI, the IoT and robotics and their application in sensitive areas such as finance, healthcare, telecommunications and mobility make it all the more important to keep up with the increasing speed and sophistication of cyber attacks.


The centre will focus on the following aims:

  • Consolidating existing cyber-security initiatives of WEF
  • Establishing an independent library of cyber best practices
  • Helping partners to enhance knowledge on cyber-security
  • Working towards an appropriate and agile regulatory framework on cyber-security
  • Serving as a laboratory and early-warning think tank for future cyber-security scenarios.

“As one of the world’s largest dedicated security practices, BT is supporting the creation of a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity,” added Gavin Patterson, chief executive, BT Group (UK).


“We believe that closer, cross-border collaboration between the public and private sectors, in the form of sharing threat information and best practice, is critical if we are to succeed in combatting cyber crime.”


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