Photo credit: World Economic Forum via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

WEF warns of cyber attacks – while pushing cashless society

The World Economic Forum has claimed that extreme weather events or cyber attacks could wreak havoc on people’s bank accounts and the financial system – while also advocating for a cashless society.

“What if extreme weather froze your bank account?” the group said in a Twitter post this week.

“The world’s digital financial systems are increasingly interconnected…in a network of critical interdependencies, this means disruption can more easily grow and spread throughout the system with repercussions that could affect all of us.

“It means that a severe snowstorm, for example, or a cyberattack, could cut off people’s access to money, both in-person and online – a situation that could lead to widespread panic and a loss of trust.”

The group adds that hackers last year, by hacking US IT firm SolarWinds, were “able to access thousands of companies’ IT systems.”

This isn’t the first time the WEF has warned of major cyber attacks, even going so far as to say that the next major global pandemic will be of a digital nature and is “inevitable.”

Now, this statement on its own seems reasonable. After all, cyber attacks are an all-too-real thing, as we know here in Ireland after the HSE was ransacked this year, reportedly by eastern european cyber criminals.

Many people outside of the WEF agree with the assessment that cyber security will be a big issue going forward, including Irish tech entrepreneur Declan Ganley, who told Gript in a recent interview that “the next Pearl Harbour” will be through cyber warfare.

What’s confusing, however, is that last year the WEF also published an article entitled “The Benefits Of A Cashless Society,” which claims that “if the private and public sector can work together to…realise the full potential of a cashless society, there will be enormous benefits.”

The article reads:

“In developed countries, a cashless society will deliver transactions that are seamless, frictionless and low-cost. And in developing nations, it could deliver life-changing socio-economic benefits.

“This easily accessible exchange of value will create a more equal world, and strengthen the bond between people, regardless of where they live.”

One has to wonder how this could possibly gel with the idea that the financial system will inevitably be hammered by a digital attack which will destroy all financial services.

We’re simultaneously being warned about impending cyber doom, while being encouraged to put everything remotely important into the cyber basket. It’s absurd.

The WEF aren’t alone in their call either; one Fine Gael senator advocated for a similar policy just months after the HSE attack.

Not only that, but our own government is warning about impending rolling blackouts for years to come, which would stop people from accessing digital banking services.

The fact of the matter is, physical cash is an incredibly important and reliable system which doesn’t leave the entire country bankrupt if someone at Eirgrid spills coffee on the control panel and the whole country goes black.

Through hurricanes, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes, meteor showers and wars, cash will always be there. As long as the currency is worth anything (which is a separate issue entirely), a €50 note in your pocket will have purchasing power no matter what crises befall the nation.

To do away with it would leave us at the mercy of a chaotic world, where all we could do is cross our fingers and hope our entire fortune isn’t frozen or deleted by some rogue cyber terrorist overnight. It is vital that we have a non-electronic backup to deal with unforeseen future challenges.

Since they popularised the concept of the “Great Reset” during the pandemic, the WEF have taken on a very negative image in some people’s eyes, and are viewed in some circles as a kind of malevolent, James Bond villain organisation.

Whether that’s true or not, they certainly don’t help themselves to shake that image by advocating for policies that they themselves admit would make us more vulnerable to inevitable disasters.




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