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Analysis by Lloyd’s of London compared the effects of a hypothetical global cyber-attack to the super storm known as Hurricane Sandy that hit the US coast in 2012, in terms of the financial impact.

Lloyd’s, who teamed up with risk-modelling firm Cyence to look at several potential cyber-attack disaster scenarios, estimate a major attack could result in financial losses of up to $53 billion, close to the total cost of the 2012 storm.

“Because cyber is virtual, it is such a difficult task to understand how it will accumulate in a big event,” Lloyd’s of London chief executive Inga Beale told Reuters.

The WannaCry ransomware, which hit in May, ended up costing businesses in more than 100 countries, more than $8 billion. These costs mostly go on business interruptions and computer repairs.

The Lloyds of London / Cyence hypothetical cyberattack looks like this: hackers inject a piece of malicious code into a cloud provider’s software. The code spreads to its customers all over the world, including financial services companies, hotels, and other businesses.

A year later, once the code has been thoroughly spread, it activates, crashing millions of computers all over the globe.

“Average economic losses caused by such a disruption could range from $4.6 billion to $53 billion for large to extreme events. But actual losses could be as high as $121 billion”, the report said.

At The Cloud Consultancy we can protect your Office 365 data (OneDrive For Business, Email, Calendars, SharePoint and Contacts) utilising SAAS Protection. If your IT systems went down due to a Ransomware attack, would your business be able to get them up and running again within a time-frame that meets your business requirements?