As digital connectivity becomes ever more integral to the global economy, companies and individuals become more exposed to vulnerabilities in the cyber system. Governments, in particular, are increasingly concerned about the threat to their economies posed by cyber attacks to individual entities and critical national infrastructure.
Governments, in particular, are increasingly concerned about the threat to their economies posed by cyber attacks to individual entities and critical national infrastructure. The motivations and capabilities of cyber attackers are also changing over time with state sponsored cyber terrorism become more visible and threatened than the perils posed by lone hackers.
The UK Critical Infrastructure Cyber Catastrophe Scenario, featured in this report, describes a well-resourced and carefully developed attack on the electricity distribution network in the south and east of the UK and its impacts on UK Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).
- This is a regional power supply catastrophe that affects between 9 million and 13 million electricity customers depending on the scenario variant.
- Its knock-on effects include disruption to transportation, digital communications, and water services for 8 to 13 million people.
- The sector most affected by the outage while it is occurring is Financial Services, which loses an estimated £1.3 billion during the period of the outage, in the baseline scenario.
- The secondary economic impacts remain for some time after the initial disaster as confidence continues to wane, perishable products are no longer fit for sale, businesses suffer, international relations are damaged and supply chains take considerable time to recover.
- The economic losses to sectors are in the range of £11.6 billion to £85.5 billion in the different variants of the scenario.
- The overall GDP impact of the attack amounts to a loss between £49 billion to £442 billion across the entire UK economy in the five years following the outage, when compared against baseline estimates for economic growth.