IT

Major cyberattacks of the future as costly as natural disasters

Major cyberattacks of the future as costly as natural disasters

The insurance market players co-wrote a report with risk-modelling company Cyence that put together a hypothetical situation in which cloud service companies and businesses' computer operating systems become victims of a major cyberattack.

Lloyds said the figures are the average in the scenario, but that because of the uncertainty around aggregating cyber losses this figure could be as high as United States dollars 121 billion or as low as USD 15 billion.

Insurers are struggling to estimate their potential exposure to cyber-related losses amid mounting cyber risks and interest in cyber insurance.

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The total figure could range between $4.6 billion (£3.5 billion) and $121 billion (£93 billion) depending on the severity of an attack, the report's authors calculated.

Lloyd's of London is warning a significant cyber attack could cause more damage to the global economy more than a major natural disaster.

As highlighted by the Lloyd's and Cyence report, the potential economic and insured loss from a cyber event is huge and appears to be growing, and cyber scenarios such as this could help market players to better understand the potential impacts and costs of large and extreme cyber attacks.

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As was the case with the WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware attacks this year, the real economic cost is likely to come from network downtime, supply chain disruption, and system repairs. What makes it even more challenging is a lack of historical data on which insurers can base their assumptions. NotPetya was significantly less costly - globally, it cost organizations US$850 million. "Just like some of the worst natural catastrophes, cyber events can cause a severe impact on businesses and economies, trigger multiple claims and dramatically increase insurers' claims costs", Lloyd's of London Chief Executive Inga Beale said in a statement.

In the hypothetical cloud service attack in the Lloyd's-Cyence scenario, hackers inserted malicious code into a cloud provider's software that was created to trigger system crashes among users a year later. By that time, the malware could have easily spread among the provider's customers, including financial institutions and small businesses, the report claimed, resulting in widespread losses.

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.

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