Warren Buffett: Cybersecurity risk ‘is uncharted territory. It’s going to get worse, not better’

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
Lacy O’Toole | CNBC Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Warren Buffett believes cybersecurity incidents will rise, and with it the potential to significantly harm the insurance industry. “Cyber is uncharted territory. It’s going to get worse, not better,” he said at the Berkshire Hathaway 2018 Annual Shareholders Meeting Saturday. “There’s a very material risk which didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago and will be much more intense as the years go along.”

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Buffett said he doesn’t want much underwriting exposure to cybersecurity threats for Berkshire’s insurance businesses. He noted the company has a “pretty good idea” on how to properly assess the probabilities for earthquakes in California and hurricanes in Florida, but not with computer hacking threats. The investor expressed skepticism that any insurance company can assess the risk for cybersecurity events. “We don’t want to be a pioneer on this … I think anybody that tells you now they think they know in some actuarial way either what [the] general experience is like in the future, or what the worst case can be, is kidding themselves,” he added.