Company bosses fear cyber-attacks and look to limit their own potential exposure

CEOs have expressed high levels of concern regarding the increasing sophistication of cyber-attacks, as almost half have taken action to personally protect themselves from malicious actors by deleting social media apps.

The findings, from PwC’s survey of almost 1,600 CEOs from 83 countries across the world, shows that the issues determining UK CEOs’ cyber security strategies include: growing public concern over data privacy (57%); data privacy regulations (57%); vulnerabilities in supply chains (41%); and the shortage of cybersecurity talent (27%).

In terms of their own personal exposure, the research found that 48% of CEOs have taken some action regarding their own digital behaviour, including deleting social media or virtual assistant apps or requesting a company to delete their data.

Richard Horne, cyber security chair at PwC UK, said: “It's clear that cybercrime continues to grow as an issue for CEOs around the world, meaning that for many, the threat to their margins, their brands and even their continued existence from cyber-attacks is no longer an abstract risk that can be ignored.”

He added that criminals are becoming more adept at monetizing their breaches, with a sharp rise in ransomware attacks over the past year. “They can have a devastating impact on the organisations they hit, as seen in many high-profile cases.

“To counterbalance this, CEOs need to focus on how their business is configured – with the ability to be resilient to cyber-attacks becoming a core requirement. Cyber security can no longer be seen as a 'bolt on', but rather something to be designed into the business and IT architecture.”

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