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Cyber security: Ukraine conflict and hybrid working add to threat matrix

By Lucy Trevelyan for International Bar Association
Monday, December 5, 2022

The Secureworks report joins a string of recent cyberattack statistics that make for grim reading for business. Global attacks, for example, increased by 28 per cent in the third quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. Twenty-seven per cent of companies globally suffered a data breach that cost them $1-20m or more in the past three years. In the UK alone, 39 per cent of businesses fell victim to a cyberattack in the past year.

The vectors under threat

Both the number and sophistication of cyberattacks is steadily growing and this alarming trend is exacerbated by the increasing maturity and centralisation of cybercrime, says Dr Ilia Kolochenko, Founder of ImmuniWeb and an adjunct professor of cybersecurity and cyber law at Capitol Technology University in Washington, DC. ‘Cyber-threats actors are gradually becoming smarter and more pragmatic so, for example, they would rather steal secret M&A documents or trade secrets from a poorly protected law firm than from its better protected clients,’ he says.

With the proliferation of ransomware-as-a-service, even inexperienced cyber criminals can make good money working for cybercrime conglomerates. ‘Ransomware attacks become profitable in 99 per cent of cases: if the victim does not pay, its clients, partners or even suppliers may be offered to pay a ransom to avoid undesirable exposure of sensitive data related to them,’ explains Dr Kolochenko. ‘Even if all eventually refuse to pay, the stolen data will be sold at public auction on the dark web, eventually being exploited in sophisticated chained attacks or resold once again.’

The typical attack vectors used by cyber criminals remain phishing, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and ransomware, with the most common cybercrimes reported to the UK’s Action Fraud in September being social media and email hacking, standing at 38 per cent of reports. Overall, 41 per cent of reports were received from businesses with a turnover of less than £1.5m. Read Full Article

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