Chubb CEO Says Business, Gov’t. Must Prevent Internet Attacks

October 18, 2001

Dean O’Hare, Chairman and CEO of Chubb Corp., told delegates at a Conference in Paris that business and government must work together to prevent attacks by terrorists or hackers on the Internet that could seriously damage global commerce and impede economic recovery.

Speaking at a meeting sponsored by Chubb and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris called “Cybersecurity Risks: Can Governments and Business Meet the Challenge,” O’Hare pointed out how relatively easy it was to launch an attack on the Web. It only requires a PC, a Modem and an online connection, all of which are legally obtainable. A hacker bent on disabling the Net could just as easily be a child as a terrorist.

The costs of cyber crime and breakdowns caused by hackers has been steadily rising, O’Hare indicated. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that financial losses caused by cybercrimes totaled a staggering $1.5 trillion last year. It is also a global problem which has to be addressed on a global scale, as attacks can be launched from anywhere in the world.

O’Hare warned of the disastrous consequences a coordinated attack on the Internet could cause, stating, “Business transactions would be impeded or cease, complicating our economic recovery and sending global stock markets into a tailspin. We must not allow this to happen.”

Chubb is one of the leading insurers of cyber-related risks, and O’Hare said his experience showed that measures could be taken by government and business to prevent and defeat “cyber terrorism and crime.”

He called for more education, risk control measures such as updating anti-virus software, security programs and procedures, and contingency planning. He also urged companies to report cyber crimes to police despite fearing damage to their reputations, otherwise they’ll remain vulnerable to future crimes.

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