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The human cost of cyber attacks

Sam Jayne / Axios

As governments, corporations, and hospitals around the world struggle to get back up and running after a string of recent ransomware attacks, scientists in Israel have uncovered another effect of cyber attacks: mass psychological distress.

  • The Financial Times reported the study's findings, which showed that participants' levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — increased after experiencing simulated cyber attacks.
  • Why it matters: The goal of hacks is generally to target institutions, not individuals, but this study indicates that cyber attacks can be as potent as terrorism in causing widespread fear.
  • The researchers wrote: "To accomplish this end, one need not commit horrific acts of murder. In a modern society it is enough attack the foundations of everyday life."