Service liability interconnections among networked IT and IoT-driven service organizations create potential channels for cascading service disruptions due to modern cybercrimes such as DDoS, APT, and ransomware attacks. These attacks are known to inflict cascading catastrophic service disruptions worth billions of dollars across organizations and critical infrastructure around the globe. Cyber-insurance is a risk management mechanism that is gaining increasing industry popularity to cover client (organization) risks after a cyber-attack. However, there is a certain likelihood that the nature of a successful attack is of such magnitude that an organizational client’s insurance provider is not able to cover the multi-party aggregate losses incurred upon itself by its clients and their descendants in the supply chain, thereby needing to re-insure itself via other cyber-insurance firms. To this end, one question worth investigating in the first place is whether an ecosystem comprising a set of profit-minded cyber-insurance companies, each capable of providing re-insurance services for a service-networked IT environment, is economically feasible to cover the aggregate cyber-losses arising due to a cyber-attack. Our study focuses on an empirically interesting case of extreme heavy tailed cyber-risk distributions that might be presenting themselves to cyber-insurance firms in the modern Internet age in the form of catastrophic service disruptions, and could be a possible standard risk distribution to deal with in the near IoT age. Surprisingly, as a negative result for society in the event of such catastrophes, we prove via a game-theoretic analysis that it may not be economically incentive compatible, even under i.i.d. statistical conditions on catastrophic cyber-risk distributions, for limited liability-taking risk-averse cyber-insurance companies to offer cyber re-insurance solutions despite the existence of large enough market capacity to achieve full cyber-risk sharing. However, our analysis theoretically endorses the popular opinion that spreading i.i.d. cyber-risks that are not catastrophic is an effective practice for aggregate cyber-risk managers, a result established theoretically and empirically in the past. A failure to achieve a working re-insurance market in critically demanding situations after catastrophic cyber-risk events strongly calls for centralized government regulatory action/intervention to promote risk sharing through re-insurance activities for the benefit of service-networked societies in the IoT age.
ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems (TMIS) – Association for Computing Machinery
Published: May 25, 2021
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