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Could Cyber-Attacks Pose a Financial Risk?

AngelaRoberts

Written by Angela Roberts

Jun 20, 2024

In less than one month, an entire network of hospitals—140 facilities in 19 states—was compromised by hackers. It was revealed that healthcare provider Ascension, which ran this network of hospitals, became the victim of a ransomware attack on May 8, 2024. The attack prevented nurses and other healthcare workers from accessing patient records, severely encumbering their ability to provide care for patients.

According to the FBI, there were 249 ransomware attacks in the healthcare sector in 2023. And this may not be the only sector that faces vulnerability from hackers.

Pentagon officials have raised concerns over cyber-attack risks.

General Timothy Haugh, director of the NSA and commander of United States Cyber Command, told The Wall Street Journal that Chinese hacking networks are targeting critical infrastructure networks in the United States to “pre-position” them for future attacks. Haugh detailed how these hacking groups appear to be targeting infrastructure for the explicit purpose of disrupting critical services.

Reading this interview, I can’t help but think of the implications these attacks could have for our daily lives—including our hard-earned savings.

Cyber-attacks could pose risks to personal finances.

Regular readers of “Gold News & Views” may recognize this concern, as I’ve written about the risk of cyber-attacks before. Most recently, I shared the findings of the International Monetary Fund published in a piece titled “Rising Cyber Threats Pose Serious Concerns for Financial Stability.”

In short, the central findings of the IMF are that the financial sectors of countries around the world are being targeted by cyber-attacks and that these attacks could “threaten financial and economic stability if they erode confidence in the financial system, disrupt critical services, or cause spillovers to other institutions.”

If members of the Pentagon believe that the risks of and posed by cyber-attacks are increasing, it’s not hard to imagine that financial networks could also be at increased risk.

Physical assets like gold could be used as a hedge against this threat.

For me, the concerns of General Haugh and other high-ranking officials present a call to action. For those of us wanting to protect our wealth, now may be the time to examine options for further diversifying our portfolios. With digital and paper-based assets potentially vulnerable to cyber-attacks, physical assets like precious metals may be a key component of wealth protection in the digital age.

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