Cyber attacks are a fast-emerging risk for companies around the world, according to a report from the Standard & Poor’s rating agency. The report, published Tuesday, says global losses may run as high as $400 billion per year, while other researchers say the problem is quickly worsening.
S&P experts say criminals target all kinds of companies, such as retailer Home Depot, banks like JPMorgan Chase and health insurers including Anthem. Some hackers are trying to steal money or trade secrets; others seek sensitive personal information that they might be able to sell to other thieves.
S&P says it evaluates how management handles all risks, including this complex and growing one as it determines credit ratings.
The report says cyber attacks can disrupt business operations, hurt a company's reputation, or prompt lawsuits from customers who have had their personal information stolen.
The rating agency says some insurance companies offer protection for financial losses due to cyber attacks, but that the field is so "fluid" and unpredictable that insurers are having difficulty judging how to evaluate risk and price their products.