But the report, part of a wider OECD project on Future Global Shocks, found “few single foreseeable cyber-related events have the capacity to become a full-scale global shock”.
One such event may be triggered by “a very large-scale solar flare (bursts of energy from the sun) which physically destroys key communications components such as satellites, cellular base stations and switches”, the report said. The last major event was in 1859, and the next sunspot peak is expected in 2012-13.
Another could involve “a hitherto unknown fundamental flaw” in the technical building blocks of the internet “over which agreement for remedy could not be quickly reached”, it added.
And multiple coordinated attacks would be limited as the potential consequences are uncertain, meaning the attackers could damage their own interests.