Cyber Threat. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Cyberattacks Can Take Down The Internet And Be Fatal

The next pandemic may be in cyberspace

Amanda Glassner

Northport, N.Y. – Mar. 12, 2021

“Cybercriminals are having a field day amid the (COVID-19) pandemic and the migration to work from home,” said CNBC correspondent Contessa Brewer on The News with Shepard Smith earlier this week.

“Hackers have been attacking businesses of all sizes and types,” warned John Doyle, president and CEO of Marsh, on a special segment of CNBC’s nightly newscast.

Since March of 2020, cybercrime has increased by 600 percent. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2025, costs could reach $10.5 trillion, up from $6 trillion in 2021.

AIG says ransomware claims have grown 150 percent since 2018 with ransom demands sometimes growing to tens of millions of dollars,” continued Brewer.

According to Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg, it could get worse. “The next pandemic, the exposure that looks like a virus is cyber-related, because it has no geographic or time bound to it.”

“Cybercrime investigators say a pandemic is totally plausible,” cautioned Brewer.

The recent cyberattacks on Microsoft and SolarWinds affecting a growing number of organizations globally is causing massive damage.

“They’re supply chain attacks; compromising or exploiting vulnerabilities in their software [gave] a multitude of adversaries access to tens of thousands of networks and hundreds of thousands of customers,” informed Wias Issa, an international cybersecurity executive.

With the potential to take down the internet and everything that relies on it — power grids, financial systems, and even medical IoT devices — cyberattacks can be fatal.

Lawmakers are sounding the alarms.

“Imagine if an adversary had the ability to control supply chains and manipulate whatever they wanted?” urged Kentucky Representative James Comer at the House Hearing on the SolarWinds breach. “It doesn’t take much to imagine the horror that would ensue if an adversary were motivated to do [harm].”

One solution currently being proposed by experts is a public-private partnership between the government, the military, cyber professionals, and insurers.

“[These groups could] come together and [formulate] a plan to defend the system and mitigate the damage,” explained Brewer. “[These are] lessons we could learn from the impact of coronavirus and our failure to plan and respond effectively there.”

“Late last year, a woman died in the aftermath of a ransomware attack on a hospital,” says Steve Morgan, founder of Cybersecurity Ventures and editor-in-chief at Cybercrime Magazine. “It’s not far-fetched to think that cyberattacks can lead to more fatalities.”

Amanda Glassner is a staff writer and reporter at Cybercrime Magazine.

Go here to read all of my blogs and articles covering cybersecurity. Go here to send me story tips, feedback and suggestions.