The World Economic Forum (WEF) co-hosted a global pandemic simulation called “Event 201” with Johns Hopkins and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in late 2019. This was followed by a cyber attack simulation called “Cyber Polygon 2020” co-hosted by the WEF and Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank. The focus of Cyber Polygon 2020 was a digital pandemic affecting everything from financial infrastructure to healthcare. Large organizations, including Deutsche Bank and Ernst & Young, participated in the event, which had over five million online viewers from 57 countries. The WEF’s initiatives in cyber security predate Cyber Polygon by more than a year; the WEF announced the Global Center for Cyber Security at its annual Davos conference in January 2018.
Exploring the World Economic Forum’s Cyber Attack Simulations: What is Cyber Polygon?
In late 2019, the World Economic Forum (WEF) co-hosted a global pandemic simulation known as Event 201 with the John Hopkins and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Just months later, an actual pandemic began in mid-2020. This led to speculation that a potential cyber attack might be around the corner, considering the aftermath of Event 201. This article will focus on Cyber Polygon—the WEF’s annual cyber security event held by Bizon, a cybersecurity subsidiary of Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.
What is Cyber Polygon?
Cyber Polygon is an annual cyber security event inaugurated in 2019 by Bizon, a cybersecurity entity sited under Sberbank in Russia. The first Cyber Polygon event included simulations for DDoS, web application, and ransomware attacks. Footage of the event is no longer available, as it has been removed from YouTube. However, a PDF summary of the event is still active.
Despite the WEF’s non-participation during the 2019 event, the WEF’s cybersecurity initiatives predated Cyber Polygon by over a year. In January 2018, the WEF announced the Global Center for Cybersecurity during its annual Davos conference.
During 2019 or 2020, the WEF partnered with Sberbank to lead Cyber Polygon 2020. As no surprise, Cyber Polygon 2020 was much more extensive than its first version. More than 120 organizations from 29 countries got involved, and the event was watched online by over five million viewers from 57 countries.
Cyber Polygon 2020’s Focus
While Cyber Polygon 2019 had focused on simulating attacks like DDoS, web application, and ransomware attacks, Cyber Polygon 2020 shifted its focus to the idea of a digital pandemic. This hypothetical digital pandemic would affect everything from Financial infrastructure to Healthcare and would have a global impact.
The full Cyber Polygon 2020 stream is still available on Bizon’s YouTube channel, with over five hours of footage. The website reveals that several significant organizations got involved, including Deutsche Bank, Ernst Young, and ICANN, among other well-known names.
Key Participants in Cyber Polygon 2020
The main host of the event was Hermann Gref, the CEO of Sberbank. The first speaker was Mikhail Mejustin, the Prime Minister of Russia who revealed that digitization would be the focus of post-pandemic recovery. The next speaker was Klaus Schwab, the founder, and chairman of the WEF, who revealed that he was personally interested in Cyber Polygon. Besides, he said everything must be digitized, and the Cyber attack simulation would make the pandemic look like a minor problem in comparison.
Other speakers included Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the UK, Jeremy Jurgens, the WEF’s Chief Business Officer, and Vladimir Posner, a Russian journalist. Discussions ranged from cooperation and integration between public and private entities to the possibility of a cyber attack, digitization, and the rollout of the 5G network.
Overall, Cyber Polygon aims to simulate potential cyber attacks and help companies prepare themselves to take necessary precautions. With Cyber Polygon, the WEF, and other partner entities, including investment banks and energy companies, want to ensure they are ready to face cyber threats. Cybersecurity matters influence almost every industry today, and proactive measures like Cyber Polygon are the best way to make sure we stay ahead of the curve.