Geopolitics such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to more damaging and widespread cybersecurity attacks in the year to July, EU cybersecurity agency ENISA said in its annual report on Thursday.
ENISA’s study follows concerns about the role of state actors and the growing range of threats to governments, companies and essential sectors such as energy, transport, banking and digital infrastructure.
The agency said geopolitical situations – in particular the Russian invasion of Ukraine – were game-changers during the period under review.
Zero-day exploits in which hackers exploit software vulnerabilities before developers have a chance to fix the flaws, as well as artificial intelligence-enabled disinformation, and deepfakes resulted in more malicious and widespread attacks with more damaging impact, it said.
“Today’s global context is inevitably driving major changes in the cybersecurity threat landscape. The new paradigm is shaped by the growing range of threat actors,” ENISA Executive Director Juhan Lepassaar said in a statement.
About 24 percent of cybersecurity attacks targeted public administration and governments while 13 percent targeted digital services providers, the report said.
The European Union in May agreed on tougher cybersecurity rules for essential sectors, with companies required to assess their risks, notify authorities and take measures to deal with the risks or face fines up to 2 percent of global turnover.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the US Treasury last month repelled cyberattacks by a pro-Russian hacker group, preventing disruption and confirming the effectiveness of the department’s stronger approach to financial system cybersecurity, citing a US Treasury official.
The Treasury has attributed the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to Killnet, the Russian hacker group that claimed responsibility for disrupting the websites of several US states and airports in October, said Todd Conklin, cybersecurity counsellor to Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo.
The incident, not previously reported, occurred a couple of days before similar attacks from Killnet on US financial services firms, Conklin told a financial services industry and regulator conference on cybersecurity.
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