The sometimes both. We are capable now of

The term cyber-attack is widely
used to describe an attack that involves computers or other such electronic
devices (Chadha, 2010). Cyber-attacks are crimes made by an individual or a
group on a computer network or system with an agenda to harm or profit,
sometimes both. We are capable now of doing things far beyond what we as
society could have even imagined a few years back. The Internet is quickly
becoming a way of life for millions of people and also a way of living because
of growing dependence and reliance of the mankind on these machines (Chadha,
2010).  These attacks have been around
since the internet and have grown in frequency and complexity as people’s
skills have developed further. Although we as a society have developed countermeasures
for cyber-attacks, it is a never-ending battle because as we learn to defend
against something new, the attackers learn a new way of attacking or getting
around our defenses. All cyber-attacks have effects on someone or something but
some of the most detrimental effects are cyber-attacks on personal finances,
the finances of businesses and the nations finance.

Financial effects on individuals

            Cyber-attacks
can be detrimental to individuals that experience them.  Rather the crimes be attacks focused on their
bank account or their personal life, it can have a major impact and effect a
lot about am individuals every day to day life. With how integrated technology
is in day to day life, it is a harsh realization that everyone is vulnerable to
attacks.  So many people have their bank
accounts, emails, and social media platforms constantly logged in and
accessible on their smart phones and computers. 
Though we have developed ways to partially secure these applications,
they are not truly secure.  In todays’
society, the modern thief can steal more with a computer than with a gun and
the terrorists of tomorrow may be able to do more damage with a keyboard than a
bomb (Chadha, 2010).  We may not have
initially intended computers and the internet to be a weapon but it has
certainly become one.  What many do not
realize is that the attack of any of their account can be used towards an
attack financially.  Gaining access to an
email can give the attacker the ability to reset passwords to any accounts
linked to it, to include banks.  As for
social media, Facebook and other sites have payment integrated into them that
links directly to a card or a bank account, so if the attacker gains access to
a user’s social media account they can then use the payment methods stored on
the accounts for whatever they may choose. The only real way to keep
information secure is to keep it off of the internet as much as possible,
instead of saving passwords a user could just remember them or write them down
on a physical piece of paper and store it somewhere safe. Another common attack
is credit card theft, where the attackers will gain the access and use of
credit card information and will buy things they want and max out the credit
card.  This leaves the user with a lot of
debt and hardship trying to clear it all up.

Financial Effects on businesses

            Businesses
without a doubt have profited greatly by the invention of computers, advanced
technology, and the internet, but they have also made themselves weak in the sense
of security.  While technology and the
internet has allowed companies to expand, and be reached all around the world,
it also means that they can be attacked from anywhere in the world as
well.  Cyber-attacks, another form of
cybercrime, are very common amongst businesses. According to Mossburg, cyber
incidents are becoming so common and frequent that some of the associated costs
are well anticipated, and are increasingly accepted as part of the risk of
doing business (2015).  When a company
gets hit by a cyber-attack its insurance premium gets increased in order for
the company to continue being insured because of the increased likely hood of
another cyber-attack.  This cost is
growing at a rapid rate and there are even companies being stood up that sell
insurance specifically for cyber insurance to help further but at an increased
rate.  After attacks happen it can also
cause a scare in that company’s customer base so the company has to do things
in order to comfort the customers so that they do not leave or do business with
another company.  The financial effects
of cyber-attacks on businesses are hefty. Some of the costs that businesses
incur when a cyber-attack happens include: Customer breach notifications, Post-breach
customer protection, Regulatory compliance (fines), Public relations/crisis
communications, Attorney fees and litigation, Cybersecurity improvements, and Technical
investigations (Deloitte, 2015).  One
cyber-attack that companies do not like to openly admit would be the theft of
intellectual property.  Because few
companies would want to publicly reveal an instance of IP theft, it is
impossible to know precisely how many companies have been victims to date, but
awareness of the risk is growing (Mossburg, 2015).  As cyber-attacks happened they brought the
need of jobs and positions to protect those companies, which led to more and
more people being trained in how to defend against cyber-attacks.  Effective cyber risk programs help
organizations be secure, vigilant and resilient (Mossburg, 2015).
Unfortunately, as businesses beef up their security, attackers figure out how
to exploit the new security measures.

Financial Effects on the nation

            When
a Nation is hit by a cyber-attack it is not just one individual or small group
that is effected, it is millions of people that are affected by it. If a stock
exchange such as the stock market is hit billions of dollars can be lost very
quickly by billions of people around the world. 
As a byproduct of the attack on the stock market, people will pull out
for fear of losing money.  The more
people that pull their money out of the stock market, the more the value of the
stocks drop and will decrease in value. 
This in turn causes an even bigger loss of money for investors and
corporations.  A 2% drop in market
capitalization is equivalent to an average dollar loss of about $88 million dollars
for an NYSE firm and about $17 million dollars for a Nasdaq company
(Congressional Research Service, 2004). 
While a single instance of this can be recovered from without effecting
the economy too much, multiple large enough attacks or just a few very large
attacks could destabilize the economy. From 1995 to 2003, the annual financial
impact of major virus attacks in the United States went from $0.5 billion
dollars up to $12.5 billion dollars (Congressional Research Service, 2004). The
worldwide financial impact from 1996 to 2004 went from $0.8 billion dollars up
to $46 billion dollars, those of course being the lower side of the ranges.  As of 2014 the estimated global cost of
cyber-attacks has gone up to $385 billion dollars.  IT may be daunting to think about but the
nation’s economic stability is crucial for the stability of the nation
itself.  One of the most dangerous
attacks we could face as a nation is an attack on the economy itself.

 

Conclusion

            Today’s
society heavily relies on technology and will continue to do so in the future
more and more. Cyber-attacks are a real threat and because of society’s
technological integration they will not stop anytime in the near future.  The financial effects of cyber-attacks on
individuals, businesses and the nation as a state can be seen every day. The
only thing that can be done is for people to learn to protect themselves from
them the best that they can.  As
cyber-attacks grow, so will the need for a larger cyber defense industry, which
will lead to more people being aware of attacks and how to best defend against
them.  World leaders have begun to look
beyond reactive, tactical cyber defense to proactive, strategic cyber defense,
which may include international military deterrence according to Kenneth Greers
in his article Strategic Cyber Defense (Greers, 2012).  Even though I doubt that cyber-attacks being
used a weapon was something that we never imagined would be necessary, it has
become a reality.