Systemic Cyber Risk: A Primer

March 7, 2022  • Jon Bateman, David Forscey, Nick Beecroft & Beau Woods


As Russia’s war spills into cyberspace, there is a growing risk of large-scale cyber disruptions well beyond Ukraine. How did the digital world become so vulnerable to big shocks? What can be done to create resilience? And how serious and widespread is systemic cyber risk? 

In this primer, experts lay out the basics. They cover how wide-reaching cyber incidents, like Log4j and SolarWinds, reveal under-appreciated dependencies and latent fragilities that could lead to larger systemic events, and how both the problem and potential solutions remain under-examined. Ultimately, the authors recommend that policymakers focus on enhancing the ability to identify and measure systemic cyber risks, reducing or eliminating some of those risks, and better managing the ones that are here to stay.