Major Internet Disruption Would Cost $250 Billion in Economic Damages

September 25, 2007

A major disruption to the Internet would not only be detrimental to businesses, public institutions and citizens, but would also cost the global economy an estimated $250 billion, according to a report released by the Business Roundtable, an association of U.S. chief executive officers.

“America’s CEOs have diligently prepared to address and respond to physical attacks that threaten the safety of our employees, economy and quality of life,” said Ed Rust, chairman and CEO of State Farm and co-chairman of Business Roundtable. “Our report suggests that, similar to physical threats, the risks of attack through the Internet intended on impacting our businesses, economy and national security present new challenges and must be addressed.”

The report, “Growing Business Dependence on the Internet: New Risks Require CEO Action,” cites the potential and widespread effects a cyber disruption could have on society and urges CEOs to take necessary action to ensure continuity of their businesses.

Among the report’s key findings is that an Internet disruption would affect nearly every U.S. business, directly or indirectly, and the efforts to respond will create stress points that will hinder recovery. In addition to the extensive effects, the report suggests a lack of awareness from business leaders on their reliance on the Internet, thus increasing vulnerability in the case of an interruption, malfunction or disruption. The World Economic Forum estimates a 10 percent to 20 percent probability that a breakdown of the critical information infrastructure (CII) will occur within the next 10 years — thus requiring immediate attention from business leaders.

The report recommends the nation’s business leaders should begin:

* Assessing companies’ Internet dependencies, based on their business operations;

* Proactively addressing Internet dependence and interdependence risks in corporate continuity and recovery plans;

* Engaging with industry partners, government and other CEOs to ensure alerts as well as response and recovery plans are in order;

* Sharing information on Internet disruptions with existing industry-operated information sharing and analysis centers (ISACs); and

* Ensuring executive-level engagement with government to set and communicate expectations about early warning and threat notifications.

“By addressing the challenges we have identified in this report, the nation’s business leaders can ensure their employees and customers are protected and safe, and that the economy still thrives,” added Rust.

The full report can be found at:

Source: Business Roundtable

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