Cyberattacks Top List of Business Risks, Executives Say: Survey

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Business leaders are rattled about the threat of cyberattacks.

Roughly 85% of executives asked say the risk of a cyberattack concerns them, according to a survey released Wednesday by American International Group (AIG).

That compares with the 82% of executives who say they fear a loss of income, 80% who worry about property damage and 76% who fret about their company's investments. The velocity of potential digital threats also challenges leaders, with 80% admitting they find it difficult to keep pace with the threat because it changes so rapidly.

The survey by Penn Schoen Berland canvassed 258 leaders at roughly 60 companies, including about 30 executives who work in the financial industry.

"These new survey findings confirm that business leaders view cyber risk as a top business concern, with great potential for reputational and financial loss," John Gambale, AIG's head of professional liability and financial lines, said in a press release.

According to the survey, 69% of executives say the risk to a company's reputation from a cyberattack exceeds financial risk, while 75% of the leaders say compliance and legal concerns are causing their companies to take notice of the potential for cybercrime or disruption.

Eighty-two percent of executives think hackers present the primary source of cyber threats, although 71% also say human error plays a significant role.

The findings follow a wave of distributed denial-of-service attacks since September that bogged down websites at some of the nation's biggest banks and impeded their customers.

The survey also comes amid evidence that cyberattackers are upping the intensity of their assaults, as well as changing tactics to avoid detection. Distributed denial-of-service attacks increased 170% in 2012, according to a report published in January by Radware, a digital security firm.

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