Alois Zwinggi, managing director, World Economic Forum and Kim Koro, President, Cyber Security Solutions; Senior Vice-President, Qualcomm Technologies, during the press conference to launch the Global Centre for Cybersecurity. PHOTO: World Economic Forum / Faruk Pinjo

INTERNATIONAL - The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday announced a new Global Centre for Cyber-security to try and help build a safe and secure global cyberspace and to minimise the threat of a "digital dark age".

In a statement, WEF said the centre will be based in Geneva, Switzerland, and will function as an autonomous organisation under the auspices of WEF.

WEF said 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. 

WEF said that because cyber attacks are a "truly borderless problem", they surpass the capacities and institutions that are presently dealing with such threats in an isolated manner. 

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

"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," Alois Zwinggi of WEF and the head of the Global Centre for Cyber-security said. 

"The new Global Centre for Cyber-security is designed as the first platform to tackle today's cyber-risks in a truly global manner." 

The statement added that new technologies like artificial intelligence, the internet of things 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.
 
"Interpol is a natural strategic partner for the World Economic Forum’s Global Cyber Centre. Both are unique because their global dimension underpins our collective response against the cyber threat," Jürgen Stock, secretary general of Interpol, said. "Our partnership contributes to building effective security architecture against such global threats, bringing key interdependent actors together, including police and business."

WEF said that according to experts, the cost of cybercrime to the global economy could go up to $500 billion annually. In comparison, the annual GDP of Switzerland in 2017 is estimated at $659 billion. 

The centre will focus on the following aims:

- Consolidating existing cyber-security initiatives of the World Economic Forum;
- 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.

- African News Agency (ANA)