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Global debt of $22tn at risk of cyber attacks

Hospitals and infrastructure including electricity, gas and water utilities are the most at risk according to a new report by the ratings agency Moody's.

The rating agency said the $22tn global debt rated by it has a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ exposure to the risk of cyber attack. The rating agency monitors 71 sectors and the entire lot is valued at $80tn. Analysis revealed that hospitals and utilities are seen as the greatest risks.

These two sectors, hospitals and utilities garner more than a quarter (28%) and are the two highest risk brackets. This constitutes a rise of about $2tn from the previous study conducted by the rating agency in 2019.

The scores took into account the risk of exposure to hacks and mitigation measures taken. The report said, “We view not-for-profit hospitals as being highly attractive, data-rich targets with average mitigation measures in place to reduce the impact of a potential cyber event.”

The rating agency said its findings were not related to any credit rating actions and that most cyber attacks were not material enough to affect issuers’ ratings. The report said sectors significantly relying on data are the most attractive targets for cyber attacks.

Moody’s said that cyber-related risk was rising, but that there had also been an increase in investment in security measures to counter that risk.

A research study in 2021 by Cybersecurity Ventures had found that online criminal activity cost the world about $6tn. The study found that by 2025, such crimes are expected to cost the world about $10.5tn, up 250% from $3tn in 2015.



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