Losses to reach billions
19 May, 2017
Global financial and economic losses from the WannaCry cyber-attack that crippled computers in at least 150 countries could swell into the billions of dollars, making it one of the most damaging incidents involving so-called ransomware. Cyber risk firm Cyence estimates the potential costs from the hack at $4bn, while other groups predict losses of at least hundreds of millions.
The attack is likely to make 2017 the worst year for ransomare scams, in which hackers seize control of a company's computers and threaten to destroy data unless payment is made. In 2016, such schemes caused losses of $1.5bn, according to market researcher Cybersecurity Ventures. That includes lost productivity and the cost of conducting forensic investigations and restoration of data.
While the potential losses from reduced productivity and efforts to mitigate the damage from WannaCry are expected to be significant, the actual ransom collected through the attack is likely to be modest. According to security firm Herjavec Group, the total amount paid by victims to regain access to their information systems was under $100,000. “Most of the organisations won't pay. They will rebuild and recover from their backups or other sources,” its head said.
For businesses, the costs associated with protecting their tech systems go beyond the need to safeguard data. The market for insurance against such attacks is expected to triple to $10bn by 2020, Bloomberg News reports. Marsh & McClennan notes that rates for such coverage have consistently risen in recent years.