Cyber Risk Conference: Annual risks of using Internet will outweigh benefits by 2019

But benefits compound, meaning users will still gain from working online

The way we look at cyber risk today, said Jason Healey at yesterday’s keynote lecture, is eerily similar to how we looked at financial risk before 2008. And no-one wants cyber to go sub-prime.

Read more: Cyber risk conference: companies aren’t prepared for cyber attacks

Healey, director of the Atlantic Council’s cyber statecraft initiative, explained that each year since 2010, in countries like Canada and the U.S., more GDP was being spent on fixing cyber security than cyber brought in. Analysts predict this will be true globally by 2019. But it’s not all gloom and doom––studies show economic benefits of using the Internet compound over time, meaning the Internet will continue to provide benefits to its users.

In the future, Healey predicts the Internet will move towards either “a cyber Shangri-la” where access and security are widespread or a hacker-controlled space that will make users yearn for today’s wild west. That Clockwork Orange Internet will be “like Somalia. A relatively stable chaos.”

Read more: IBM to invest $3 billion in new “Internet of Things” unit to scoop, crunch data on devices

To work towards the cyber Shangri-la, Healey suggests teaching coding to elementary school childen so they are able to better understand their privacy choices. He also pointed to the importance of countries working together. In an earlier session, Chantal Bernier, counsel at Dentons and former interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, said there’s no potential of international cyber regulation. But privacy regulators have extraterritorial jurisdiction and often cooperate with each other, and cyber security accreditation is being developed.

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