German reinsurer warns generative AI raises global cyber risks

Headquarters of Munich Re, Munich, Germany, December 25, 2023. /CFP

Headquarters of Munich Re, Munich, Germany, December 25, 2023. /CFP

German reinsurer Munich Re has raised concerns about the increasing cyber risks driven by the rapid advancement of technology, particularly generative artificial intelligence (AI).

The world’s largest reinsurer said in its report published on Thursday that it has observed a “surge in cyber-attacks” over the past months, with ransomware playing a growing role. Last year alone, there were twice as many software supply chain attacks as in the previous three years combined.

Data platform Statista has estimated that the annual global cost of cybercrime will rise from $8.15 trillion in 2023 to $13.8 trillion by 2028.

Moreover, Munich Re experts warn that cyberattacks are becoming “increasingly automated and personalized” as attackers will be able to use AI-driven phishing e-mails and vishing calls to deceive victims.

Last week, OpenAI’s so-called Voice Engine, a tool that can generate a clone of any human voice using only 15 seconds of recorded audio, was deemed too risky for general release.

“Due to the potential for synthetic voice misuse,” OpenAI said they “are choosing to preview but not widely release this technology at this time.”

However, Munich Re said that AI “will also increasingly augment the efforts of cyber defenders.” AI and related technologies could be used to “strengthen detection and response capabilities” and will also be used by insurers, it added.

Cyber insurance has become an essential component of cyber risk management over the last decade. According to Munich Re, the cyber insurance market has almost tripled in size over the past five years and is expected to almost double to around $29 billion by 2027.

While cyber insurance has helped enhance resilience, Munich Re warned that “the insurance industry’s risk-bearing capacity has natural limitations.”

“The most severe systemic cyber risks, such as the failure of critical infrastructure or damage from cyber warfare, cannot be borne by the private sector,” said Juergen Reinhart, a cyber expert at Munich Re.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency