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The socio-economic impact of the Covid pandemic has yet to take full effect – the current phase is, really, just the end of the beginning. That is according to the CEO of risk forecasting consultancy Sibylline, Justin Crump, pictured.
He says: “Rising unemployment and hardship, as well as an increasing focus on inequality, will serve as a key trigger for unrest across the world. Young adults and ‘blue collar’ roles are set to be most affected, worsening longstanding grievances among marginalised communities. Organisations and states that take an irresponsible and uncompassionate stance on redundancies, climate change and equality are set to become targets. Leaders must take a proactive, intelligence-led approach to decision-making and do the right thing for all of their stakeholders, amidst an increasing complex and uncertain environment.”
He was commenting on the launch of the London-based firm’s Mid-Year Global Risk Report. It suggests that the spread of the virus over the first half of 2020 prompted an economic contraction unsurpassed in living memory. The Covid-19 pandemic will remain the most significant economic and political variable globally, causing the acceleration of underlying global trends that have been building over the last few years.
Justin Crump was interviewed in the June 2020 print edition of Professional Security magazine.
The report covers geopolitics and cyber, trends and ‘flashpoints and indicators’ by country and continent; ‘lone actor’ terror attacks; civil unrest; and organised crime. The crash of the wholesale drug market, closed borders and difficult logistics has done anything but stop activity. Instead organised crime groups have used lockdown as an opportunity, to diversify, taking advantage of distracted enforcement agencies. Hence ‘virtual kidnappings’ and cybercrime, such as ransomware attacks on corporate systems. Businesses are having to adopt new methods at a much faster rate, to protect their people, assets and data, according to the consultancy.
Dr Tamara Makarenko, COO for Sibylline, says: “Organised crime is, unsurprisingly, proving to be the most nimble and innovative player in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Wholesale illicit narcotics markets have been affected, and although we expect the core business of drug trafficking to resume once lockdowns are eased, crime groups have evolved how they operate in the midst of the crisis.
“In other developments, criminal groups have been corrupting procurement processes rolled out by governments seeking to quickly respond to COVID gaps, to enhancing local power by setting up food distribution centres and raising funds via ransomware attacks and virtual kidnappings, Organisations need to remain aware and vigilant to the threats these groups pose to business, and identify ways to mitigate any associated threats before they arise.”
The report uses Sibylline’s World Risk Register and ASTRA algorithm, which forecasts six months of increasing risk and volatility. Collecting data since 2015, it tracks 32 risk factors covering political, security, criminal and governance risk. Each factor is scored between one to ten, and analysed by regional intelligence experts to deliver qualitative as well as quantitative analysis, as a view of the global situation and emerging trends.