A survey by Intel Security and the Aspen Institute revealed that 18 per cent of US security professionals and three per cent of those in the UK believe an incident to be “extremely likely”.
Such an attack could result in the loss of human life, the report said.
More than three quarters of respondents said they believe a national defence force should respond when a cyber attack damages a critical infrastructure company within national borders.
“This data raises new and vital questions about how public and private interests can best join forces to mitigate and defend against cyber attacks,” said Clark Kent Ervin, director of the Homeland Security Program at the Aspen Institute.
“This issue must be addressed by policymakers and corporate leaders alike.”
72 per cent of security experts said the threat level of attacks is escalating, but confidence in their businesses’ own cyber security defences is on the rise.
Half said their firm was “very or extremely vulnerable” three years ago, while only 27 per cent would say this of their organisations today.
Nearly nine in ten respondents experienced at least one attack on their organisations in the last three years, with a median of 20 attacks on each firm per year.
59 per cent said that at least one of these attacks resulted in physical damage.
The human factor was also prevalent in the survey, with user error cited as the greatest cause of successful attacks on critical infrastructure.
For more information on the report, see the McAfee website.
Source: Business Reporter