Home >News >World >Technology, govt entities most targeted by cyber-attackers in 2019: Report
There have been several cyberattacks targeting hospitals, city administrations and sporting events in the past few months. (Photo: iStockphoto)
There have been several cyberattacks targeting hospitals, city administrations and sporting events in the past few months. (Photo: iStockphoto)

Technology, govt entities most targeted by cyber-attackers in 2019: Report

  • In 2019, technology was the most attacked industry, accounting for 25% of all attacks
  • Cyberattacks on government entities were largely driven by geo-political activity

MUMBAI: The tech and government agencies were the most targeted by cyber-attackers across the world in 2019 despite efforts by organisations to layer up cyber defences, according to technology services provider NTT’s 2020 Global Threat Intelligence Report (GTIR).

Attackers continue to innovate and automate, the report said.

In 2019, technology became the most attacked industry for the first time accounting for 25% of all attacks, up from 17%. Over half of attacks aimed at this sector were application-specific (31%) and Denial of Service (DoS)/ Distributed DoS (DDoS) (25%) attacks, as well as an increase in weaponization of Internet of things (IoT) attacks.

Cyberattacks on government entities were largely driven by geo-political activity accounting for 16% of threat activity, and finance was third with 15% of all activity. Business and professional services (12%) and education (9%) completed the top five.

“The technology sector experienced a 70% increase in overall attack volume. Weaponization of IoT attacks also contributed to this rise and, while no single botnet dominated activity, we saw significant volumes of both Mirai and IoTroop activity," noted Mark Thomas who leads NTT Ltd.’s Global Threat intelligence Center.

Attacks on government organisations nearly doubled, including big jumps in both reconnaissance activity and application-specific attacks, driven by threat actors taking advantage of increase in online local and regional services delivered to citizens.

Since the covid-19 pandemic, the number of attacks on technology platforms such as video conferencing and online platforms has rapidly increased. With a large workforce working from home outside enterprise firewalls, employees find themselves in a riskier situation. The increasing attacks on technology sector through the year clearly display enterprise weaknesses in their most dependent segments.

The data indicates that over half (55%) of all attacks in 2019 were a combination of web-application and application-specific attacks, up from 32% the year before, while 20% of attacks targeted CMS suites and more than 28% targeted technologies that support websites.

For organizations relying more on their web presence during covid-19, such as customer portals, retail sites, and supported web applications, they risk exposing themselves through systems and applications that cyber criminals are already targeting heavily.

Matthew Gyde, president and chief executive of security division, NTT said, “The current global crisis has shown us that cyber criminals will always take advantage of any situation and organisations must be ready for anything. We are already seeing an increased number of ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations and we expect this to get worse before it gets better. Now more than ever, it’s critical to pay attention to the security that enables your business."

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