Report finds costs of cyberattacks could exceed natural disasters

The cost of a major cyberattack on a critical major U.S. utility or service provider could rival that of a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a report released Monday found.

The report, put together by experts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and insurance group Intangic, used a risk-rating system developed by Intangic to estimate the impact of two types of disruptive cyberattacks.

The findings estimated that a three-day cyber disruption of a managed service provider giving IT services to hundreds of customers across a variety of critical fields could lead to an economic loss of almost $80 billion, more than the $65 billion cost of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The losses would be even higher with an attack on a critical utility, such as regional electric utility, with Intangic estimating that a breach causing disruption to power for five days would cost an estimated $193.5 billion, more than the cost of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and the 2018 California wildfires.

“Cyber vulnerabilities pose a systemic risk to the U.S. economy,” the report reads.