Spain becomes a strategic target for cybercriminals
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Spain becomes a target for cybercriminals and climbs one position in the ranking of countries most affected by Ransomware. S21sec has published its half-yearly report, Threat Landscape Reportwhich offers an overview of the most relevant threats in the first half of 2022. Among the main findings, the S21sec Threat Intelligence team has detected an increase in attacks from ransomware on an international scale, which places Spain in seventh position in the world ranking of countries most affected by this type of malware; thus climbing one position with respect to the results published by the company in the previous study that analyzed the evolution of cybercrime during the last semester of 2021.
During the last few months, the ransomware either malware Ransomware remains one of the most widely used types of cyberattacks by malicious actors with primarily economic motivations. “Ransomware, after all, is a business. It is based on a profit-sharing relationship, with operators taking a percentage of the money earned from attacks carried out by their affiliates while, in turn, dedicating themselves to the development and refinement of the ransomware”, explains Sonia Fernández.
From the monitoring of public activity carried out by threat actors on more than 50 blogs of ransomware groups in the deep web, dark web and clandestine forums; During the first half of 2022, the S21sec Intelligence team has tracked a total of 1,466 attacks of these characteristics in all the countries in the study. “The kidnapping of sensitive information is increasingly common among cybercriminals who intend to obtain an economic benefit. Many companies around the world are willing to pay a ransom and not reveal that they have been victims of such an attack.” Sonia Fernandez points out.
Spain becomes a target for cybercriminals and climbs one place in the ranking of countries most affected by Ransomware
If we review the number of cases for each territory analyzed, the United States heads the list with more than 600 attacks, once again ranking first in the world ranking of those affected by this type of malware. Behind the US are Germany and the UK, with 90 and 86 attacks, respectively. Spain, meanwhile, has climbed one position compared to the Threat Landscape Report that analyzed the cyber activity of the second semester of 2021; thus passing from eighth to seventh place with a total of 37 attacks.
In addition, as can be deduced from the study, a total of 11,925 vulnerabilities have been detected in the last six months, which have led to a greater susceptibility of the business fabric to any possible threat. In addition, almost 7,000 vulnerabilities of serious or high criticality have been registered that cybercriminals have actively exploited to execute different types of attacks.
“A large part of the incidents observed during the first half of this year have had as their initial input vector the exploitation, by cybercriminals, of some vulnerability in the destination infrastructures of the affected organizations. For this reason, it is necessary for companies to focus on the maintenance and updating of their infrastructures with the aim of reducing any possible security breach and protecting their activity”says Sonia Fernández, head of the S21sec Intelligence team.
Ransomware attacks, by sectors
On the other hand, as deduced from the study, the sectors that have suffered the most attacks from ransomware during the first six months of 2022 they have been technological, industrial, retail and construction, exceeding 90 victims during this period. Although it is also worth noting, with a high incidence of cases, the health sector, transport and logistics, government and administration, finance and energy.
In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the energy sector in Europe -one of the hardest hit- has been the victim of 43 cyberattacks from ransomware directed at companies by actors with different objectives: some of them were looking for a financial benefit, while others had as their objective the destruction or paralysis of electrical infrastructures to cause the greatest possible damage. Among the most significant attacks during this period, those that occurred in February stand out, most of which targeted companies in the supply chain, suppliers, facilities or systems, by threat actors with mainly economic motivations.
It should be noted that the energy infrastructures of a country are considered critical infrastructures, among others, and that an attack against them can pose risks not only for the company attacked, but also for the citizenry. Thus, due to the magnitude of the consequences and the great damage that can be caused, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure systems have become one of the greatest dangers for society. According to S21sec experts, among the most devastating effects are the paralysis or collapse of public services and shortages.
“Critical infrastructures provide essential services for the community. The interruption of its operations due to a cyber attack could lead to considerable economic losses and cause great damage to the environment, directly affecting people’s lives”comments Sonia Fernandez.