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It’s Only a Matter of Time Before you get Hacked: Verizon CEO

If CEOs needed further evidence that they need to be more prepared for cyber attacks they've just got it in spades from Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

gettyimages-479801118-compressorSpeculation has been swirling that Verizon may trim its $4.8 billion bid for Yahoo’s media assets after the target subsequently revealed its email service was infiltrated by state-sponsored hackers.

But, at least according to McAdam, the attack is no shock. And it shouldn’t really come as a big surprise to other CEOs either.

The frequency of cyber attacks against business has been increasing of late, with large companies such as professional social network LinkedIn, electronics giant Sony and British telecom TalkTalk making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Cyber crime is now the second-most frequently reported economic crime by business, behind asset misappropriation, according to a survey released this year by PwC, jumping from the fourth-most reported crime a year earlier.

“It’s not a question of if you’re going to get hacked, but when you are going to get hacked.”

However, as recently reported by Chief Executive, business leaders have been slow to prepare themselves and are still getting caught off guard. A recent investigation commissioned by security firm Tanium found that more than 90% of senior executives could not read a cybersecurity report and were not prepared to handle a breach.

The costs for victims range from financial losses associated with compensating affected clients, increased regulatory heat and a deep loss of consumer confidence.

So it stands to reason that Verizon would want to consider renegotiating its Yahoo offer. Even Ross Levinsohn, a former Yahoo CEO, said last week that Verizon should ask for a discount.

For his part, McAdam said Yahoo was still a valuable business, while indicating Verizon may already have factored in the potential for bad news.

“It’s not a question of if you’re going to get hacked, but when you are going to get hacked,” he reportedly told a technology conference in California on Monday.

“In fairness, we are still understanding what was going on and defining whether it was a material impact on the business or not.”


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