2 min readWEF launches Cyber Polygon 2020, a digital pandemic simulation

How useful will the Cyber Polygon 2020 in preventing a digital pandemic?

Remember Event 201 held in October 2019, a few months before the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 was reported? Unknown to many people, a similar event, also hosted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) took place in 2020. The event is called Cyber Polygon 2020 and its goal was to prevent a “digital pandemic”.

In the brief of the event, the organizers said, “lnformation and money remain the main target of cybercriminals. In 2019–2020, the world witnessed a wave of massive data leaks — even technologically advanced companies were not always immune. This is why, for the technical part of our training, we developed an attack scenario which in real life would jeopardize company reputation and data. The teams could hone their skills in countering this type of attack in real time and investigate the incident.”

The attached document found below details the results of the event, which centers on cyber security training and capacity-building. Another cyber attack simulation is scheduled to take place on July 2021.

Editor’s Note: As our world transitioned towards a digital economy during the coronavirus crisis, financial institutions, as well as governments have become susceptible to data breaches. In fact just a few days ago, we have heard of a massive data breach at Facebook, which exposed the data of at least 530 million users. [efn_note]https://www.npr.org/2021/04/09/986005820/after-data-breach-exposes-530-million-facebook-says-it-will-not-notify-users[/efn_note]. To be honest, simulations such as Cyber Polygon are necessary in order to properly assess the weaknesses of digital systems.

The problem here is that, as in Event 201, there were no representatives from poor countries invited to the simulation, when we know that it is these countries which need more help with cybersecurity. If the predictions of Cyber Polygon comes true (again), we can expect poor countries to be severely disadvantaged. Mainly because they will be forced to conform to the “global consensus” even when they had no hand in new cyber security rules that may be developed. Poor countries lack both the system and the resources to implement derived solutions. And if the results of Event 201 can be used as a barometer of future experiences, we can say that in the event of digital pandemic, poor countries will suffer greatly if results of Cyber Polygon are imposed on these countries by international organizations through the concerted effort of governments, Big Tech, and national telecommunications regulators.

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