(Reuters) – A co-ordinated global cyber attack, spread through malicious email, could cause economic damages anywhere between $85 billion and $193 billion, a hypothetical scenario developed as a stress test for risk management showed.
Insurance claims after such an attack would range from business interruption and cyber extortion to incident response costs, the report jointly produced by insurance market Lloyd’s of London and Aon said on Tuesday.
Total claims paid by the insurance sector in this scenario is estimated to be between $10 billion and $27 billion, based on policy limits ranging from $500,000 to $200 million.
The stark difference between insured and economic loss estimates highlights the extent of underinsurance, in case of such an attack, the stress test showed. An attack could affect several sectors globally, with the largest losses in retail, healthcare, manufacturing and banking fields.
Regional economies that are more service dominated, especially the United States and Europe, would suffer more and are vulnerable to higher direct losses, the report said.
Cyber attacks have been in focus after a virus spread from here Ukraine to wreak havoc around the globe in 2017, crippling thousands of computers, disrupting ports from Mumbai to Los Angeles and even halting production at a chocolate factory in Australia.
Governments are increasingly warning against the risks private businesses face from such attacks, both those carried out by foreign governments and financially motivated criminals.