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Cyberattack on US Infrastructure 2022

Ukraine Conflict


Related Question on Metaculus:

In 2020, multiple cyberattacks on US federal agencies and businesses occurred through multiple exploits. For the estimated 18,000 victims of the SolarWinds exploit, former National Security Agency contractor Jake Williams said "The true cost could be hundreds of billions of dollars". Additionally, In May 2021, an unidentified group brought the Colonial Pipeline in the North-east US down for a week, disrupting the region's supply of oil. On February 12, 2022, CNN reported that multiple intelligence agencies are preparing for Russian-sponsored cyber attacks. CNN reported an official publicly stating "While there are not currently any specific credible threats to the U.S. homeland, we are mindful of the potential for Russia to consider escalating its destabilizing actions in ways that may impact others outside of Ukraine."

If there is a successful Russian cyberattack on US infrastructure in 2022, which system(s) will be attacked?

The options below will only resolve as Yes or No if, between February 25, 2022 to January 1, 2023, there is at least one successful cyberattack from Russian agents on critical US Infrastructure, as based on the terms in our main companion question, reproduced fully in the fine print below.

If there is such an attack, any of the following options will resolve as Yes if at least one attack successfully targets that infrastructure sector. It is possible that more than one option will resolve as Yes if one attack successfully targets multiple sectors, or there are multiple independent attacks in 2022.

If there is no such Russian cyberattack as defined in this period, all of the options will resolve as Ambiguous. If there is at least one Russian cyberattack on one of the following systems, the systems not successfully attacked will resolve as No.

To assess the above criteria, Metaculus Admins will consider reports by US government agencies, research and analytics organizations, or credible media reports.

The systems below include:

  • Electrical grid: systems for generating and transmitting electricity
  • Oil/natural gas: systems for production, refining or distribution of oil or natural gas
  • Security/military/emergency: critical systems used by police, firefighters, emergency medical response, armed forces, national guard, and FEMA
  • Medical: systems for production, distribution, and administration of medical care (such as hospitals, pharmacies, the FDA, and drug / medical supply manufacturers)
  • Transportation/Aviation: systems such as air traffic control, FAA / TSA / DOT systems, and railroad and marine transportation systems
  • Communications: systems which provide network access or reliability (such as the internet, radio, landline/cellular phone networks, or television broadcasts).
  • Banking/Finance: systems which support transactions, deposits, withdrawals, and the provision of credit and liquidity

This question defines "a successful cyberattack from Russian agents on US critical Infrastructure" as meeting 3 criteria:

  1. One or more cyberattacks successfully disrupt some part of the US critical infrastructure (including electricity, water supply, heating, sewer systems, gas/oil/petrol processing and distribution, transportation and aviation, communications networks, medical care, security/defense/military, banking and financial infrastructure). The target of the attack may be publicly or privately owned or operated.

  2. The attack is attributed to hackers from the Russian government or sponsored by the Russian government, according to statements by the US federal government or US intelligence agencies.

  3. At least one of the following conditions is met regarding the severity of the attack:

    1. Is estimated to have caused at least $1 million direct property damage (excluding intellectual property).
    2. Is estimated to have caused at least $10 million of direct or indirect costs to the economy.
    3. Causes loss of an essential service (such as electricity, water, gas pumps) affecting at least 10,000 people for at least 1 week.
    4. Causes a sharp rise in price of essential goods (such as food or gasoline) by at least 50% for a community of at least 10,000 people.
    5. Is estimated to have caused at least 10 fatalities.

To assess the above criteria, Metaculus Admins will consider reports by US government agencies, research and analytics organizations, or credible media reports.

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