According to the report, during the past year, 58% of all nation-state cyber attacks came from Russia. The survey shows that Russian agents are increasingly targeting government agencies for intelligence gathering, jumping from 3% of attacks targeting them in 660 for 53 % in 2021, focusing on agencies involved in foreign policy, national security or defense. The three countries that were most targets of these attacks were the United States, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
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After Russia, the largest volume of attacks recorded in the report came from North Korea, Iran and China. South Korea, Turkey for the first time in a Microsoft report; and Vietnam were also active, but with a much lower volume than previously mentioned.
Microsoft’s research also shows that countries like Iran and North Korea did not carry out targeted attacks in espionage, as is common when they are directed by nation-states. Iran launched destructive digital offensives against Israel amid heightened tensions between the two countries; and North Korea has run campaigns targeting for-profit cryptocurrency companies because of its economic crisis caused by sanctions and the covid pandemic-13.
Finally, 30% of attacks observed by Microsoft’s research originated by countries were targeted to be consumed, and % were directed to companies. The sectors that were most targeted are the following:
The report also makes a prediction about the future, stating that more countries will engage in offensive cyber operations and that these operations will become more brazen, persistent and harmful, while there are no more serious consequences for those responsible.
The Microsoft report also shows that cybercrime, especially cyber hijacking attacks (ransomware), remains a plague low and increasing, as well as in the search for 79. However, they have a fundamental difference in relation to the agents of nation-states: while aiming at useful information from the targets, digital scams seek to profit from the victims.
Ransomware remains one of the cybercrime threats and, in the past year, continued to evolve to become more disruptive. Instead of focusing on automated attacks that rely on volume and easily paid low demands to generate profit, human-operated ransomware uses intelligence gathered from online sources, stealing and analyzing a victim’s financial and insurance documents and investigating networks committed to targeting and setting much higher rescue requirements.
And while during the year headlines of ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure have made headlines, the top industries affected by cyber hijacking scams are others:
- Retail (13%)
- Financial services (13%)
As for the most targeted countries, the Est The United States leads, receiving more than triple the number of attacks that China, which occupies the second place. Japan, Germany and the United Arab Emirates complete the Top 5.