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Domino Effect of Cyber Attacks
Domino Effect of Cyber Attacks
Time icon22 May 2015, 13:00 pm

The movie Die Hard 4 showed what might happen if a small team of people make a cyber attack on the whole country. A recent study showed that this implausible plot line is not as farfetched as we thought, and that cyber attacks could pose a genuine threat to companies and countries. 

A survey revealed some shocking news

Of the 350 C-level executives and CISOs that were interviewed, over 74% claim cyber attacks on their companies’ networks would create serious damage and destruction. More than 21% admitted they were fearful it might happen at some point in their career. All admitted that cyber attacks pose a serious IT security risk, and that it is more than just a case of a few techno-nerds hacking or creating viruses. 

Over 80% said cyber attacks may have a serious impact on their companies’ profitability/cash flow and 45% are fearful it would dramatically impact employee productivity. Over 43% say it would mean business downtime and 41% fear internal chaos within their company. 

The effect goes beyond the attacked companies

Of the interviewed experts, 64% claimed the attack would create further vulnerabilities, and 56% went on to say that they would translate Internet national vulnerabilities, which would then create the dreaded domino effect.

How does the domino effect work?

The premise is simple. One company is compromised and the attackers use what they know, learn and create to attack other companies. They then do the same over and over again, and the more success they enjoy, then the faster and more efficient they become at taking down other companies. 

It is not as implausible as it sounds. A basic (small-scale) example would be with online tools such as spelling and grammar checkers. Many of them use the Ginger database to work. If a cyber attack affected or infiltrated the company that runs the Ginger database, they would and could affect all the other companies that use that database and may even find a way to infiltrate them through their use of now compromised Ginger. Once inside the other companies, they could do a similar thing and spread like a disease to other companies, websites and online tools.

 

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