Three in four adults in 10 countries fear that cyber-attacks could hurt their country’s economy, concludes Honeywell

Michael Chertoff
Michael Chertoff

Three quarters of surveyed adults (75 percent) across 10 countries say they are fearful that cyber hackers are carrying out attacks on major industries and sectors of the economy in their countries, according to the results of a study announced today by Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), a supplier of automation and control systems for a variety of industries.

Many survey respondents (36 percent) indicate they do not believe that it is possible to stop all cyber-attacks. A similar proportion (36 percent globally) report they don’t have faith in their country’s ability to keep up with cyber-attacks because they feel that governments and organizations are not taking these threats seriously enough, particularly those respondents in India (61 percent), China (48 percent) and Mexico (47 percent).

“Cyber-attacks are a clear and present threat to every industry, in every country throughout the world,” said Michael Chertoff, co-founder and executive chairman of the Chertoff Group, and former head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “This threat is real and industries need a proactive and coordinated approach to protect their assets as well as their intellectual property. We have seen a number of attacks to critical industries in areas like the Middle East and the U.S. and these have had major impacts on their operations.”

The British government estimates that cyber security breaches at British energy companies alone cost those companies about 400 million pounds ($664 million) every year. In the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security said that more than 40 percent of industrial cyber-attacks targeted the energy industry in 2012, the last full year reported.

“These survey results are not surprising in light of the recent cyber-attacks that have made headlines in several areas around the world,” said Jeff Zindel, leader of HPS’ Industrial Cyber Security business. “The impacts of these attacks, as well as others that have not been publicly reported, have cost companies and governments billions of dollars through operational issues and loss of intellectual property.”