How much cost cyber attacks to the US? According to a report published by the White House Council of Economic Advisers last week, the cyberattacks cost between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, and things can go worse in the future.
“This report examines the substantial economic costs that malicious cyber activity imposes on the U.S. economy. Cyber threats are ever-evolving and may come from sophisticated adversaries. Due to common vulnerabilities, instances of security breaches occur across firms and in patterns that are difficult to anticipate.” states the report.
“Firms in critical infrastructure sectors may generate especially large negative spillover effects into the wider economy.”
The report analyzed the impact of malicious cyber activities on public and private entities, including DoS attacks, sabotage, business disruption, and theft of proprietary data, intellectual property, and sensitive financial and strategic information.
Damages and losses caused by a cyber attack may spill over from the initial target to economically linked organizations. More exposed are critical infrastructure sectors, at attack against companies and organization in this industry could have a severe impact on the US economy.
“Finally, and perhaps most important, if a firm owns a critical infrastructure asset, an attack against this firm could cause major disruption throughout the economy.” reads the report.
“Insufficient cybersecurity investment in these sectors exacerbates the risks of cyberattacks and data breaches. The economic implications of attacks against critical infrastructure assets are described in more detail later in the paper. “
The reports also warn of devastating cyberattacks that would target sectors that are internally interconnected and interdependent with other sectors.
The report offered little in the way of new recommendations on improving cybersecurity, but noted that the situation is hurt by “insufficient data” as well as “underinvestment” in defensive systems by the private sector.
“Cyber connectivity is an important driver of productivity, innovation, and growth for the U.S. economy, but it comes at a cost. Companies, individuals, and the government are vulnerable to malicious cyber activity.” concludes the report. “Effective public and private-sector efforts to combat this malicious activity would contribute to domestic GDP growth. However, the ever-evolving nature and scope of cyber threats suggest that additional and continued efforts are critical, and the cooperation between public and private sectors is key.”
(Security Affairs – Cyberattacks cost, US)