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Major cyber attack could cost global economies £40 billion
17 July 2017, 08:05 | Jodi Jackson
Superstorm Sandy made landfall in North America in 2012
A major global cyber attack could cause an average of $53 billion (£40 billion) of economic damage, according to new research from Lloyd's of London. Some critics attribute those high costs to the USA government's slow response to the natural disaster.
The WannaCry ransomware attack that spread across the globe back in May is estimated to have had an economic impact of $8 billion.
In recent weeks, several massive waves of cyber attacks in the rançongiciel have hit multinational corporations, companies and services in western Europe, the United States, Ukraine or even in Russian Federation.
The report, which looked at the potential consequences of attacks on cloud service providers and operating systems, compared the fallout to that of a natural disaster.
Lloyd's CEO Inga Beale said the report had provided the scenarios to help insurers gain a better understanding.
The figures are comparable to the $108bn of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, including $80bn of uninsured losses, or the $50bn to $70bn in damage estimated to have been caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. "Underwriters need to consider cyber cover in this way and ensure that premium calculations keep pace with the cyber threat reality".
The majority of these losses are not insured, leaving governments and businesses vulnerable if cyberattacks happen. If a major cloud service was disrupted, the losses could range from $4.6bn for a large event to $53.1bn for an extreme event, it said. Analysis in the report shows that for this scenario the protection gap could be as high as $45 billion, meaning that roughly $20.6 billion, or less than 17% of the economic loss would be covered by re/insurance protection.
The company, which published the 56-page report in cooperation with computer security firm Cyence, said its findings also reflect how hard it is to model and understand an area in which there is so little historical data upon which to base assumptions.
Where people are involved, risk changes quite rapidly, Maynard said, from cyberattacks to terrorism and political risk.
The longer software is out in the market, the more time malicious actors have to find and exploit vulnerabilities and the report warned many individuals and companies run obsolete software that has more secure alternatives. "[It's like] trying to turn a supertanker around - we can't start in 30 years when things are going bad, we have to start now".
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