How much damage would a global scale cyberattack cause?
ALONG with the development of technology, the threat of cyberattacks is also on the rise with hackers deploying more and more sophisticated methods to exploit system vulnerabilities to steal valuable data or sabotage businesses.
And accordingly, organizations are constantly on their toes as a single breach could cause significant damage to the company.
A recent hypothetical scenario simulated as a stress test for risk management concluded that a coordinated malicious cyber attack that is spread via email could inflict up to US$193 billion in economic damages.
The malicious email which serves as the vector in the scenario is automatically forwarded to all of the recipient’s contacts once opened, encrypting all data on 30 million devices across the world. The data can then will be held ransom.
Titled, ‘Bashe Attack: Global infection by contagious malware,’ the report stated that enterprises that fell victim to cyber crimes could benefit from insurance.
Total claims paid by the insurance industry after an attack, as of today, are estimated to be in the range of US$10 billion and US$27 billion.
In highlighting the disparity of US$166 billion between the loss estimates and the insured amount, the stress test brings to the fore the extent of unpreparedness in the event of a mass-coordinated cyberattack, which could affect numerous global industries, with retail, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors at risk for more significant losses.
Regionally, economies that are primarily service oriented such as the US and Europe are especially more susceptible to bigger and direct losses.
After the 2017 incident of cyberattack originating from Ukraine devastated thousands of computers worldwide – disrupting port operations Mumbai to Los Angeles, among other things- the topic of cybersecurity has been getting more attention from business leaders and regulators alike.
And recently, governments everywhere are scrambling to raise awareness among enterprises on the risk of cyber threats originating from cyber criminals and agents of states.
Last week National Cyber Security Centre of Britain revealed that it is probing a large scale DNS hijacking scheme that has been targeting governments and enterprises worldwide.
Meanwhile, French consulting firm Altran also found itself in the crosshairs of cybercriminals which affected its operations in some European countries. The incident led to a shutdown of Altran’s network and application.
With the world expected to be more interconnected in the future, hackers will find it easier to access corporate (and regulatory) systems — and it is unclear if organizations are equipped to deal with the threats.