What Happened in the WEF’s Cyber Attack Simulation: Part 2?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) co-hosted the CyberPolygon 2021 event with Bison, a cybersecurity subsidiary of Sberbank, with the theme of supply chain cyber attacks. The event was almost twice as large as CyberPolygon 2020 with 200 participants from 48 countries and 7 million viewers from 78 countries, and was the second time the WEF and Sberbank had co-hosted such an event. There was also a third simulation scheduled for mid-2022, but it was postponed due to the war in Ukraine. Cybersecurity was the focus of the event in the context of digitization, digital ecosystems, and digital inequality, with speakers from both government and private technology sectors discussing the future of cybersecurity.

The Rise of Global Cyber Attacks Speculation

In mid-2020, the world watched as the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Spare Bank, Russia’s largest bank, co-hosted a global cyber attack simulation. This event sparked speculation regarding the possibility of a global cyber attack being imminent. This speculation rose even higher in mid-2021, when the WEF and Spare Bank co-hosted a second cyber attack simulation. A third simulation was scheduled for mid-2022, but unfortunately, it was postponed due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

This article is the second of a two-part series about the WEF’s Cyber Attack Simulations. Today’s video will provide a summary of Cyberpolyon 2021 and discuss whether the conflict in Ukraine could result in a global cyber attack.

Cyberpolygon and Its Partners

Cyberpolygon is an annual cyber event hosted by Bizon, a cybersecurity subsidiary of Spare Bank. In 2019 or 2020, Cyberpolygon partnered with the WEF to co-host all future Cyberpolygon events. The WEF’s own cyber initiative began in 2018. The partnership between Bizon and the WEF comes from the close relationship between Spare Bank CEO Herman Gref and WEF founder and Chairman Klaus Schwab. Russian President Vladimir Putin was also a young global leader of the WEF and later became the leader of his country.

Cyberpolygon 2021’s key partners were the WEF, IBM, and Interpol. The 2021 edition was nearly twice as large as the 2020 edition, with 200 participants from 48 countries and seven million viewers from 78 countries. Although most participants chose to remain anonymous, the event was a huge success.

The Theme of Cyberpolygon 2021

Unlike 2020’s Digital Pandemic theme, Cyberpolygon 2021’s theme was Supply Chain Cyber Attack. The website for the 2021 event specified that “a single vulnerable link is enough to bring down the entire system” like a domino effect. Cyberpolygon 2020 and 2021 full streams can be found on Bizon’s YouTube channel. However, the 2021 stream is almost six hours long. Limited Hangout published an article the day before the event, which readers may also find informative.

Cyberpolyon 2021 Results and Speakers

Cyberpolyon 2021 began with opening remarks from Herman Gref. Bizon chose the Supply Chain Cyber Attack theme because of all the supply chain disruptions caused by pandemic restrictions. Mikhail Majestin, the Prime Minister of Russia, was the first speaker. He thanked all the big tech companies and big banks that participated in the 2021 event. Mikhail also celebrated the recent creation of a working group on cybersecurity by the United Nations.

The second speaker was Klaus Schwab, who said he was happy to speak at the event for a second year. Klaus explained that cybersecurity is the foundation for the WEF’s future of digitization and the digital ecosystems must expand. Alexander Tushkanov, the host of the event, revealed that the event itself was the target of a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack shortly after it began.

The third speaker was Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple. He also expressed his surprise at the event but was happy to be there. When Alexander asked Steve about data, he said that he was proud that Apple doesn’t share user data like other big tech companies do. Steve was asked about AI and said he wasn’t all that impressed by it.

The fourth and fifth speakers were Roger Halpier, the Chief Security Advisor at Microsoft and Igor Leaponov, Vice President for Information Security at Ross Telecom. They discussed the future of cyber, with Roger predicting that deep fakes would make it possible to orchestrate attacks that we’ve never seen before. When it came to cyber attacks from Russia, both agreed that the threat is diverse. They conceded that it’s easier to track crypto transactions due to their transparency.

The sixth, seventh, and eighth speakers were Mark Barnett, the President of Mastercard Europe, Matthew Dill, the Senior Vice President of Visa, and Alexei Zabotkin, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia. They discussed cryptocurrency, with Visa stating that they see stable coins setting the standards for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).


In conclusion, Cyberpolygon 2021 was a success, with the theme of Supply Chain Cyber Attack being a huge topic of discussion. The speakers at the event were from various industries and offered insight on the future of cyber, including the threat of deep fakes and cryptocurrency. Although the event itself came under attack, it proved to be a valuable tool in assessing the threat of cyber attacks in the future.

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