Coordinated global cyberattack could cause up to $193 billion worth of damage: report

Service-dominated economies, including the US, would suffer more and are vulnerable to higher direct losses, the report said. Above, FBI brochures on combating cybercrime on display during a cybercrime prevention symposium on October 16, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 29 January 2019
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Coordinated global cyberattack could cause up to $193 billion worth of damage: report

  • Insurance claims after such an attack would range from business interruption and cyber extortion to incident response costs
  • Cyberattacks have been in focus after a virus spread from Ukraine to wreak havoc around the globe in 2017

BENGALURU: A coordinated global cyberattack, spread through malicious email, could cause economic damages anywhere between $85 billion and $193 billion, a hypothetical scenario developed as a stress test for risk management showed.
Insurance claims after such an attack would range from business interruption and cyber extortion to incident response costs, the report jointly produced by insurance market Lloyd’s of London and Aon said on Tuesday.
Total claims paid by the insurance sector in this scenario is estimated to be between $10 billion and $27 billion, based on policy limits ranging from $500,000 to $200 million.
The stark difference between insured and economic loss estimates highlights the extent of underinsurance, in case of such an attack, the stress test showed. An attack could affect several sectors globally, with the largest losses in retail, health care, manufacturing and banking fields.
Regional economies that are more service dominated, especially the United States and Europe, would suffer more and are vulnerable to higher direct losses, the report said.
Cyberattacks have been in focus after a virus spread from Ukraine to wreak havoc around the globe in 2017, crippling thousands of computers, disrupting ports from Mumbai to Los Angeles and even halting production at a chocolate factory in Australia.
Governments are increasingly warning against the risks private businesses face from such attacks, both those carried out by foreign governments and financially motivated criminals.
For example, Britain’s National Cyber Security Center announced on Friday it was investigating a large-scale Domain Name System (DNS) hijacking campaign that hit governments and commercial organizations across the world.
In another recent incident, French engineering consultancy Altran Technologies was the target of a cyberattack that hit its operations in some European countries.
On a larger scale, personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, were published online in what appears to be one of Germany’s most far-reaching data breaches.
The report was also co-produced by MSIG, SCOR TransRe and Cyber Risk Management.


Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

Updated 24 May 2019
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Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

  • Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors
  • After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers said they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies

NEW DELHI: Foreign companies in India have welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory for the political stability it brings, but now they need to see him soften a protectionist stance adopted in the past year.
Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors, with US firms such as Amazon.com , Walmart and Mastercard committing billions of dollars in investments and ramping up hiring.
India is also the biggest market by users for firms such as Facebook Inc, and its subsidiary, WhatsApp.
But from around 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervor ahead of elections.

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“I hope he’s now back to wooing businesses,” said Prasanto Roy, a technology policy analyst based in New Delhi, who advises global tech firms.
“Global firms remain deeply concerned about the lack of policy stability or predictability, this has sent a worrying message to global investors.”
India stuck to its policies despite protests and aggressive lobbying by the United States government, US-India trade bodies and companies themselves.
Small hurdles
Modi was set to hold talks on Friday to form a new cabinet after election panel data showed his Bharatiya Janata Party had won 302 of the 542 seats at stake and was leading in one more, up from the 282 it won in 2014.
After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers told Reuters they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies.
Other investors hope the government will avoid sudden policy changes on investment and regulation that catch them off guard and prove very costly, urging instead industry-wide consultation that permits time to prepare.
Protectionism concerns “are small hurdles you have to go through,” however, said Prem Watsa, the chairman of Canadian diversified investment firm Fairfax Financial, which has investments of $5 billion in India.
“There will be more business-friendly policies and more private enterprise coming into India,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Tech, healthcare and beyond
Among the firms looking for more friendly steps are global payments companies that had benefited since 2016 from Modi’s push for electronic payments instead of cash.
Last year, however, firms such as Mastercard and Visa were asked to store more of their data in India, to allow “unfettered supervisory access,” a change that prompted WhatsApp to delay plans for a payments service.
Modi’s government has also drafted a law to clamp similar stringent data norms on the entire sector.
But abrupt changes to rules on foreign investment in e-commerce stoked alarm at firms such as Amazon, which saw India operations disrupted briefly in February, and Walmart, just months after it invested $16 billion in India’s Flipkart.
Policy changes also hurt foreign players in the $5-billion medical device industry, such as Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson, following 2017 price caps on products such as heart stents and knee implants.
Modi’s government said the move aimed to help poor patients and curb profiteering, but the US government and lobby groups said it harmed innovation, profits and investment plans.
“If foreign companies see their future in this country on a long-term basis...they will have to look at the interests of the people,” Ashwani MaHajjan, an official of a nationalist group that pushed for some of the measures, told Reuters.
That view was echoed this week by two policymakers who said government policies will focus on strengthening India’s own companies, while providing foreign players with adequate opportunities for growth.
Such comments worry foreign executives who fear Modi is not about to change his protectionist stance in a hurry, with one offical of a US tech firm saying, “I’d rather be more worried than be optimistic.”