A spectre is haunting the world – the cyber spectre.
This menace can reveal itself under different faces, taking the form of criminality, terrorism or state-sponsored activity – often using several faces together and masking its true intentions.
Over 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries across the globe were hit last year by Wannacry, probably the most significant cyber attack to date.
Among them were large corporations such as Telefonica and hospitals in the UK, which had to cancel or delay medical procedures.
The NotPetya attack a month later is estimated to have cost companies more than $1.2bn (€975,000). We have seen election campaign hacks in 2016 and 2017 where attacks were used to delegitimise the electoral process or cast a shadow over elected representatives.
By now it is becoming clear that the threats cyber attacks pose are real. Luckily, while cyber threats may be inevitable, their paralysing impact is not.
But fighting them is new for us.
Some governments have closed their eyes, hoping that the menace will go away. It will not. It will only become stronger.