Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud

Catastrophic Cloud Attack Costs Would Rival that of Hurricane Damages

Lloyd's of London estimates multi-billion-dollar loss figures in worst-case scenarios of a major zero-day exploit or massive cloud outage.

WannaCry spread like wildfire in a matter of days reaching 150 countries and creating an anticipated $4 billion in losses, but if attackers were to launch a global, system-wide attack that hit a multitude of cloud-based companies, the worst-case scenario losses could potentially reach $53 billion in just a few days, according to a report released by cyber risk analytics firm Cyence and insurer Lloyd's of London.

That multi-billion dollar figure is on par with the damages of a major hurricane and would be based on the losses sustained by the end-user of the cloud-based services, says George Ng, Cyence CTO and co-founder.

As an example of what a catastrophic cloud-based attack would look like of this proportion, imagine an attack on hypervisors, or virtual machine monitors (VMM), that create and run virtual machines for a number of cloud-based services like the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud and Microsoft's Azure, Ng says. If you were to take all the direct losses sustained by customers of AWS, Azure, and any other cloud service whose hypervisors were also attacked in the onslaught, then the losses could dramatically scale, the CTO notes.

Another worst-case scenario cited in the report: cybercriminals sharing information about a zero-day vulnerability affecting all versions of an operating system used by 45% of users across the globe, and then developing exploits to take advantage of it for financial gain. Potential losses for these users could reach $28.7 billion, the report found.

The potential of these multi-billion dollar losses far exceeds the size of the overall market of companies using the Internet for their business and paying premiums for cyber insurance,  which Lloyd's of London estimates to be between $3 billion to $3.5 billion, based on the premiums paid for cyber insurance, says Ng, whose company works with insurance companies to help them understand the potential economic risk from cyberattacks. Last year, property-casualty insurance companies wrote $1.35 billion in cyber insurance premiums, an increase of 35% from the previous year, the report notes.

Although Ng admits the potential for these worst-case scenarios with their mega-billion in losses is "pretty unlikely" to happen, he notes the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape is very dynamic and generates copycats for popular and lucrative attacks.

Nonetheless, based on the report's estimates for potential damages from cyberattacks, Ng advises CISOs and executives with responsibility for security departments to track, monitor, and focus on insider threats, train all staff on cybersecurity, and be aware of emerging trends.

Some of those trends include adopting an awareness that "generated" software code can be modified by attackers when it's produced in an authomated fashion. Other trends are the growing volume of software developers and software, which can potentially introduce more vulnerabilities into the code.

Black Hat USA returns to the fabulous Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 22-27, 2017. Click for information on the conference schedule and to register.

 

Related Content:

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
10 Ways to Keep a Rogue RasPi From Wrecking Your Network
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  7/10/2019
The Security of Cloud Applications
Hillel Solow, CTO and Co-founder, Protego,  7/11/2019
Where Businesses Waste Endpoint Security Budgets
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "Jim, stop pretending you're drowning in tickets."
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-3571
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
An input validation issue affected WhatsApp Desktop versions prior to 0.3.3793 which allows malicious clients to send files to users that would be displayed with a wrong extension.
CVE-2019-6160
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
A vulnerability in various versions of Iomega and LenovoEMC NAS products could allow an unauthenticated user to access files on NAS shares via the API.
CVE-2019-9700
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
Norton Password Manager, prior to 6.3.0.2082, may be susceptible to an address spoofing issue. This type of issue may allow an attacker to disguise their origin IP address in order to obfuscate the source of network traffic.
CVE-2019-12990
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
Citrix SD-WAN 10.2.x before 10.2.3 and NetScaler SD-WAN 10.0.x before 10.0.8 allow Directory Traversal.
CVE-2019-12991
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
Citrix SD-WAN 10.2.x before 10.2.3 and NetScaler SD-WAN 10.0.x before 10.0.8 have Improper Input Validation (issue 5 of 6).