These findings were published by Lloyd's of London, and was co-written by Cyence, a risk-modeling firm. The report examined losses that could be brought upon by the potential hacking of a cloud service provider and businesses' computer operating systems.
"Because cyber is virtual, it is such a difficult task to understand how it will accumulate in a big event," said Lloyd's of London Chief Executive Inga Beale in an interview with Reuters.
The WannaCry fiasco, which infected a large number of computer systems in over 100 countries recorded a loss of around $8 billion, according to Cyence. This mostly involved business interruptions and computer repairs.
The report's hypothetical cloud service provider attack involves hackers injecting malicious code designed to trigger system crashes among victim systems a year later. By then, the code will have spread to the provider's customers, like financial services companies to hotels. This will trigger income losses, as well as unforeseen expenses that could blow up.
While $53 billion is already an alarming amount, the report states that this could become worse. “Average economic losses caused by such a disruption could range from $4.6 billion to $53 billion for large to extreme events. But actual losses could be as high as $121 billion," the report reads.
Finally, around $45 billion of this amount may not be covered by cyber policies due to underinsuring of companies, the study finds.