Cybersecurity is on course to dominate the corporate agenda for yet another year as big names admit to being impacted by the WannaCry virus malware attack.
The latest attack caused major problems for the UK´s NHS service, with some hospitals forced to shut down their computer and telephone systems.
Big company names are also in the firing line, with the likes of Spain-based Telefónica, German rail network Deutsche Bahn and US logistics company FedEx among those known to be affected.
WannaCry is a so-called cryptovirus: it causes mayhem by encrypting the files stored on victims´ computers.
Users are locked out of their own machines and warned through an on-screen message that they will not be able to regain access unless they make a payment in the bitcoin digital currency.
Furthermore, the criminals have combined WannaCry with a worm-type application which multiples itself so that it can go on to invade yet more computers.
Cybersecurity problems appear to only get worse, with experts claiming the scale of the latest malware attack is unprecedented.
The intelligence agencies believe as many as 200,000 computers have already been infected by WannaCry. However, there may be much more disruption on its way as it is thought another 1.3m systems remain vulnerable.
Share price impact
So far, the share price impact on the companies known to be affected is relatively negligible. Investors, however, need to keep a careful watch on how this latest cybersecurity drama develops.
Over recent years, there have been some notable share price moves owing to high-profile cybersecurity scandals.
Among them was UK-based telecoms group TalkTalk, which saw its reputation considerably tarnished after a cyberattack in the autumn of 2015, whereby the personal and financial data of thousands of its customers were stolen. Shares in TalkTalk plummeted by over 10% when details of the cyberattack emerged, but the longer-term reputational damage will surely be much greater.
Technology and financial services firms would appear more sensitive to cybersecurity threats given the vital importance of customer data to the operation of their businesses.
In December, internet behemoth Yahoo! revealed that as many as a billion of its customer accounts had been affected by a security breach.