In a different twist, hundreds of thousands of homes in Ukraine were left without electricity in December after an alleged malware attack on the power system. The attack was the first known example of hackers bringing down a major power network and attacks on major utility companies are an increasing concern for governments and corporates.
Plus, a U.S. cybersecurity expert claims to have discovered more than 272 million hacked email accounts, in what would be one of the biggest-ever data breaches. Alex Holden, who has previously uncovered other huge data breaches, said the accounts were offered to him for next to nothing by a Russian hacker. The news circulated in the media this week, after Holden announced it on the website of his company, Hold Security.
Some governments have launched expensive security programs in the wake of the threat. In February, President Barack Obama proposed a U.S. cybersecurity budget of $19 billion for the fiscal year 2017, a more than 35 percent increase from 2016.
In November, the U.K. government said it planned to almost double its investment in cybersecurity to £1.9 billion ($2.8 billion) over five years.