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Cloud attack could cause $67 billion loss: Lloyd’s

A major cyber attack on a cloud service provider could trigger up to $US53 billion ($67.7 billion) in global economic losses and pose significant risks for Australian businesses, according to Lloyd’s.

A report by Lloyd’s and analytical group Cyence also warns mass attacks on vulnerable business operating systems could cause losses of $US28.7 billion ($36.6 billion).

Lloyd’s General Representative in Australia Chris Mackinnon says the interconnected nature of digital technology and services increases the potential economic impact of attacks and the likely level of insurer costs from multiple claims.

“This report gives us a real sense of the extent of damage a single extreme cyber attack could cause,” he said. “An attack of that magnitude could create losses bigger than of some of Australia’s worst natural disasters combined.”

The consequences compare with losses of $7 billion from Victoria’s 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and costs of $14.1 billion from the 2011 Queensland floods and $18.7 billion from the 1989 Newcastle earthquake, according to Lloyd’s.

The report says while global demand for cyber cover is on the rise, most losses are not insured, leaving a gap of tens of billions of dollars.

“Where a decade ago people would talk about preventing a cyber attack, the reality today is that any business with proprietary information worth protecting is vulnerable to attack,” Mr Mackinnon said.

“The issue is how you mitigate against that risk.”

Justice Minister Michael Keenan told a cyber-crime conference on the Gold Coast today that Australia is one of the most connected countries in the world, which makes it vulnerable to malicious cyber activity in all forms.

The recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware incidents show the dangers of not being prepared, he says.

“Fortunately, Australia did not see the widespread impact of WannaCry that other nations did. But the incident was a wake-up call to all organisations to be on guard against cyber threats, and to have the appropriate measures in place to protect online information and systems.”

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