Lloyd’s of London chief executive Inga Beale has said that the financial sector is inadequately prepared to defend itself against cyberattacks.
Speaking at the Asian Financial Forum this week in Hong Kong, Beale explained that a single hack could lead to losses of up to US$100m. She cautioned that the insurance industry is particularly vulnerable, and has little collective experience in dealing with massive cyberattacks.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Lloyd’s own figures suggest that only 17% of new business can be insured, while the costs of future cyberattacks are, by their nature, estimates, as the insurance sector has yet to properly calculate the potential extent of damage from attacks.
Last year saw a sharp rise in cyberattacks worldwide, with attacks such as the WannaCry ransomware, which affected more than 300,000 computers around the world.
Lloyd’s of London is the world’s oldest insurance market, having been founded in 1686. Beale’s comments coincided with Lloyd’s publication of a 56-page report, “Counting the cost: Cyber exposure decoded.” The report warns that cyberattacks are potentially a much larger threat to the international financial sector than natural disasters.
Coinciding with Lloyd’s warning, the World Economic Forum on Tuesday released its own Global Risk Report ahead of next week’s annual gathering in Davos, which also assesses cyberattacks to be a major and largely unreckoned threat.