The term cyber-attack is widelyused to describe an attack that involves computers or other such electronicdevices (Chadha, 2010). Cyber-attacks are crimes made by an individual or agroup 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 associety could have even imagined a few years back. The Internet is quicklybecoming a way of life for millions of people and also a way of living becauseof growing dependence and reliance of the mankind on these machines (Chadha,2010). These attacks have been aroundsince the internet and have grown in frequency and complexity as people’sskills have developed further. Although we as a society have developed countermeasuresfor cyber-attacks, it is a never-ending battle because as we learn to defendagainst something new, the attackers learn a new way of attacking or gettingaround our defenses. All cyber-attacks have effects on someone or something butsome of the most detrimental effects are cyber-attacks on personal finances,the finances of businesses and the nations finance.
Financial effects on individuals Cyber-attackscan be detrimental to individuals that experience them. Rather the crimes be attacks focused on theirbank account or their personal life, it can have a major impact and effect alot about am individuals every day to day life. With how integrated technologyis in day to day life, it is a harsh realization that everyone is vulnerable toattacks. So many people have their bankaccounts, emails, and social media platforms constantly logged in andaccessible 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 andthe terrorists of tomorrow may be able to do more damage with a keyboard than abomb (Chadha, 2010).
We may not haveinitially intended computers and the internet to be a weapon but it hascertainly become one. What many do notrealize is that the attack of any of their account can be used towards anattack financially. Gaining access to anemail can give the attacker the ability to reset passwords to any accountslinked to it, to include banks. As forsocial media, Facebook and other sites have payment integrated into them thatlinks directly to a card or a bank account, so if the attacker gains access toa user’s social media account they can then use the payment methods stored onthe accounts for whatever they may choose.
The only real way to keepinformation 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 downon a physical piece of paper and store it somewhere safe. Another common attackis credit card theft, where the attackers will gain the access and use ofcredit card information and will buy things they want and max out the creditcard. This leaves the user with a lot ofdebt and hardship trying to clear it all up.Financial Effects on businesses Businesseswithout a doubt have profited greatly by the invention of computers, advancedtechnology, and the internet, but they have also made themselves weak in the senseof security. While technology and theinternet 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 aswell. Cyber-attacks, another form ofcybercrime, are very common amongst businesses. According to Mossburg, cyberincidents are becoming so common and frequent that some of the associated costsare well anticipated, and are increasingly accepted as part of the risk ofdoing business (2015). When a companygets hit by a cyber-attack its insurance premium gets increased in order forthe company to continue being insured because of the increased likely hood ofanother cyber-attack.
This cost isgrowing at a rapid rate and there are even companies being stood up that sellinsurance specifically for cyber insurance to help further but at an increasedrate. After attacks happen it can alsocause a scare in that company’s customer base so the company has to do thingsin order to comfort the customers so that they do not leave or do business withanother company. The financial effectsof cyber-attacks on businesses are hefty. Some of the costs that businessesincur when a cyber-attack happens include: Customer breach notifications, Post-breachcustomer protection, Regulatory compliance (fines), Public relations/crisiscommunications, Attorney fees and litigation, Cybersecurity improvements, and Technicalinvestigations (Deloitte, 2015). Onecyber-attack that companies do not like to openly admit would be the theft ofintellectual property. Because fewcompanies would want to publicly reveal an instance of IP theft, it isimpossible to know precisely how many companies have been victims to date, butawareness of the risk is growing (Mossburg, 2015).
As cyber-attacks happened they brought theneed of jobs and positions to protect those companies, which led to more andmore people being trained in how to defend against cyber-attacks. Effective cyber risk programs helporganizations be secure, vigilant and resilient (Mossburg, 2015).Unfortunately, as businesses beef up their security, attackers figure out howto exploit the new security measures.Financial Effects on the nation Whena Nation is hit by a cyber-attack it is not just one individual or small groupthat is effected, it is millions of people that are affected by it. If a stockexchange such as the stock market is hit billions of dollars can be lost veryquickly by billions of people around the world. As a byproduct of the attack on the stock market, people will pull outfor fear of losing money.
The morepeople that pull their money out of the stock market, the more the value of thestocks drop and will decrease in value. This in turn causes an even bigger loss of money for investors andcorporations. A 2% drop in marketcapitalization is equivalent to an average dollar loss of about $88 million dollarsfor 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 effectingthe economy too much, multiple large enough attacks or just a few very largeattacks could destabilize the economy.
From 1995 to 2003, the annual financialimpact of major virus attacks in the United States went from $0.5 billiondollars up to $12.5 billion dollars (Congressional Research Service, 2004).
Theworldwide financial impact from 1996 to 2004 went from $0.8 billion dollars upto $46 billion dollars, those of course being the lower side of the ranges. As of 2014 the estimated global cost ofcyber-attacks has gone up to $385 billion dollars.
IT may be daunting to think about but thenation’s economic stability is crucial for the stability of the nationitself. One of the most dangerousattacks we could face as a nation is an attack on the economy itself. Conclusion Today’ssociety heavily relies on technology and will continue to do so in the futuremore and more. Cyber-attacks are a real threat and because of society’stechnological integration they will not stop anytime in the near future.
The financial effects of cyber-attacks onindividuals, businesses and the nation as a state can be seen every day. Theonly thing that can be done is for people to learn to protect themselves fromthem the best that they can. Ascyber-attacks grow, so will the need for a larger cyber defense industry, whichwill lead to more people being aware of attacks and how to best defend againstthem. World leaders have begun to lookbeyond reactive, tactical cyber defense to proactive, strategic cyber defense,which may include international military deterrence according to Kenneth Greersin his article Strategic Cyber Defense (Greers, 2012). Even though I doubt that cyber-attacks beingused a weapon was something that we never imagined would be necessary, it hasbecome a reality.