Is cyberwarfare war? Insurers balk at paying for some cyberattacks

In Ukraine, a cyberattack can mean a freezing night without power. But in the United States, it often seems like just one more unavoidable hassle of modern life. People change a few passwords, maybe sign up for credit monitoring, and then go on with life. But for the organizations on the receiving end—TargetEquifax, the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, just to name a few—a cyberattack can mean scrambling to get systems back on line, setting up response war rooms, and, of course, paying huge bills for missed orders or new equipment.

And US businesses may no longer be able to rely on insurance to cover their losses. In an era of unceasing cyberattacks, including cases of state-sponsored hacking, insurance companies are beginning to re-interpret an old line in their contracts known as the “war exclusion.” Stripping away the metaphorical connotation of the term “cyberwarfare,” big insurers like Zurich Insurance have decided that state-sponsored attacks are basically just plain warfare. This shift comes as the US government is increasingly attributingstate-sponsored cyberattacks to their alleged perpetrators, a development that some argue is a means of holding bad actors accountable.

But the policy certainly doesn’t seem to be doing any favors to the private sector. more

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