A massive outbreak of the ransomware worm ‘WannaCry’ has had cyber security experts scrambling. The malware has affected operations at several hospitals, car factories, subway systems, shops and schools across the globe.
Economic experts believe this attack could cost businesses and governments hundreds of millions of dollars. The notional losses resulting from the shutting down of operations by a corporation that has been impacted would be difficult to estimate. As per reports from the White House, till Monday evening, nearly $70,000 was paid by users to unlock their infected systems.
As per a Reuters report, the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit research institute forecasts that losses arising from this cyber attack would be within $1 billion. However, California-based cyber risk modeling firm, Cyence, forecasts the economic damage to be $4 billion inclusive of costs associated with businesses interruption.
Until Monday evening, around 300,000 systems in nearly 100 countries were infected by the WannaCry malware. Hypothetically, assuming each victim paid $300 to unlock their device, it would result in a total ransom of around $90 million. However, this is a conservative estimate, as the malware’s ransom demands start at $300, but they increase to $400 after two hours, then $500, and, finally $600. Further, the number of systems affected may be much higher as the days progress.