The Domino Effect Of Government Cyberattacks and How That Impacts Your Company

Domino effect of government cyberattacks

Cyberattacks against the government pose a very real threat to corporates and small and medium enterprises. In a BIQ survey, 74% of the C-level executives surveyed worried that an indirect cyberattack could cripple their operations, damage their brand, and affect the bottom line.

Unfortunately, the domino effect of government cyberattacks is no longer hypothetical. Just ask Danish shipping magnate, Moller-Maersk who suffered a $300 million loss during the Russian-instigated blitz against the Ukrainian government in 2017.

Attacks on governments have far-reaching repercussions for corporates. Here are three ways these ripple effects can impact your company.

Domino Effect 1: Creates further vulnerabilities

Hackers are smart. Once they have penetrated government systems and subsequently those of corporates, it becomes easier to target other companies. The domino effect of government cyberattacks is that as larger entities are compromised, cybercriminals use what they have learned in this exercise to launch attacks on similar companies.

This means no company is safe or immune from attack. Whether governments and businesses are aware or not, technology has made them interdependent. The weakness of one can affect the other. For example, hackers targeting vulnerabilities in government machines operating Windows software can equally use the same vulnerabilities to attack businesses.

Just last year, the US military issued an unprecedented warning to businesses operating Microsoft Outlook to update as soon as possible after learning of a malicious plan by the Iranian government to exploit unpatched vulnerabilities.

Domino Effect 2: Downtime can affect profitability

No one can fully predict the negative fallout that results from a direct or indirect cyberattack. While it’s not an exact science, one thing is true and that is the rapid downward spiral can be cataclysmic and extremely expensive to recover from.

When a business’ systems suffer disruption of service and customers cannot access your company site, this can lead to a colossal loss. This is even more so for businesses such as e-commerce stores whose business is mostly digital.

Domino Effect 3: Costly legal and settlement costs

Lastly, another domino effect of government cyberattacks pertains to the legal aspect. How much money does it take to settle cases when user data has been stolen and leaked? Companies that have been hacked often have to settle with clients and pay for this breach of confidentiality even if the fault wasn’t theirs.

The list of people to be paid can see settlement costs running into the millions as was the case with Anthem Inc, the biggest insurance firm in the US, that paid a record $115 million settlement in 2017 following a data breach in which 80 million customers’ personal details were compromised.

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