World leaders have been urged to exercise vigilance and work collaboratively to develop new strategies and tools to prevent, investigate, and prosecute cyber-criminals, particularly in view of the interconnected reality of cyberattacks in this digital age.
Antonia Marie De Meo, Director of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), based in Turin, Italy made the call in her opening remarks at the International Festival of European Geopolitics. The third edition of the festival took place in Venice from 11 to 13 May 2023, with record attendance.
“On the global level, the World Economic Forum estimates that the cost of cybercrime may reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. That’s less than two years away,” she warned, adding that the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity estimated that the annual cost of cybercrime to the EU economy was around €265 billion in 2018 alone.
Ms. De Meo advised that as the globe navigates the complexities of this increasingly digital world, cyber threats loom large, hence the need for vigilance and collaboration to develop new strategies and tools to address cybercrime and enhance cybersecurity. Both cybercrime and cybersecurity have become increasingly important for Europe and the world, due to their immense social, political, and economic consequences.
“Malicious actors are launching evermore complex attacks and continue to adapt their techniques to evade detection and exploit vulnerabilities. New technology, such as artificial intelligence, is helping to automate attacks, make them more effective, and even better tailor attacks to victims,” she said.
Europe recently became the target of notable major cyberattacks, such as WannaCry and the SolarWinds supply chain attack. Even when Europe was not the direct target, it was affected by cyberattacks on other countries, reflecting the interconnectedness of such attacks.
It is crucial for global leaders to prioritize the safety and security of critical infrastructure, institutions, and citizens in this digital age.
“At UNICRI, we are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement agencies, international organizations, and the private sector to address these complex challenges and to promote a safer and more secure digital environment for all,” she said.
UNICRI is a United Nations research and training institute focused on crime prevention, justice, security, and the rule of law.
Download the Statement of the Director of UNICRI, Antonia Marie De Meo