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Russian Cyberattack on US Infrastructure 2022

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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 hacker Jake Williams said "The true cost could be hundreds of billions of dollars". Additionally, In May 2021, an unidentified group brought down the Colonial Pipeline in the US North-East 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."

Will critical US infrastructure be successfully attacked by Russian cyberattacks before 2023?

This question will resolve positively if the following conditions are met:

  1. At any time from February 25, 2022 to January 1, 2023, one or more cyberattacks successfully disrupt some part of the US critical infrastructure (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. The attack is estimated to have caused at least $1 million direct property damage (excluding intellectual property).
    2. The attack is estimated to have caused at least $10 million of direct or indirect costs to the economy.
    3. The attack causes loss of an essential service (such as electricity, water, gas pumps) affecting at least 10,000 people for at least 1 week.
    4. The attack 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. The attack 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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