A cyber attack against a major cloud computing firm could cause as much financial damage as Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina, the World Economic Forum and risk manager Marsh have warned.
Increasing numbers of businesses and individuals rely on cloud services for their IT, trusting some of the world's biggest technology companies to offer safe, good value services over the internet.
But this also concentrates risk in a handful of places, which are attracting increasing attention from criminal hackers and malign states.
"If an attacker took down a major cloud provider, the damages could be $US50 billion ($62.5 billion) to $US120 billion, so something in the range of a [Hurricane] Sandy event to a Katrina event," said John Drzik from Marsh, speaking at the launch of the WEF's annual Global Risks Report.
Cyber attacks now cost around $US1 trillion in damage per year compared to 2017's record of $US300 billion for natural disasters, he said.
Meanwhile, the WEF also indicated that the global economic system was failing to boost living standards for average people around the world and suggested it must be reformed to ensure the benefits of growth are spread more widely.
"Society is telling us that there needs to be some rethinking and restructuring of our economic and growth model," said Richard Samans from the WEF.
"There need to be structural improvements and reform of market capitalism to deal with some of the rumbling dissatisfaction in society about the failure of growth to diffuse as widely as it should in living standards."
The Telegraph, London