Research - 29.11.2019 - 00:00
2 December. 2019 “Cyber risks” comprise a broad spectrum of risks to digital systems, such as data losses or full-scale cyber attacks on the power grid. The authors of the Science article argue that in order to research cyber risks systematically it takes not only computer scientists, but also researchers in the fields of economics, law, business administration, behavioural science and political science. “Researchers have to collaborate across disciplines and investigate questions on the margins of their disciplines”, says Martin Eling. He adds that funding has to be bundled and that industry and government should assume a leadership role in determining the track for interdisciplinary research.
“To overcome obstacles to interdisciplinary research on cyber risks, researchers who are investigating part of this agenda could develop partnerships and study questions on the margins of their disciplines”, says the article. One example where the authors report having done this involves research into extreme cyber risk scenarios. “On the initiative of an economist, we have developed a consistent approach to modelling extreme cyber risk scenarios. The team commissioned a computer scientist to describe plausible extreme events and the criticality of those events, so that the relevant information could be analysed.” Neither the economists nor the computer scientists had all of the specialist knowledge required to tackle the problem.
On the argument that industry and government organisations would have to adopt a leadership role, the authors write: “Because digital risk is a daily struggle for companies and public institutions, they have to propose and provide data for the most urgent research problems in order to encourage interdisciplinary projects.” One promising concept from the risk management toolkit that is already well established in other contexts (natural catastrophes, terror threats, nuclear risks) is the bundling of risks. To put this into practice, however, it would be necessary to examine the legal, business and economic requirements.
Input from different disciplines
The authors argue that further discussion of potential standardisation and regulation to improve cyber risk management requires input from different disciplines. “It is important to understand the economic and political reasons for the spread of cyber risks, as well as how society can be taught to deal with cyber risks and what legal measures can be taken to improve cyber security.” According to the authors, the intellectual independence of science and the practical knowledge possessed by government and industry are crucial for robust, integral research.
Picture: Pixabay/ Pixel2013
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