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India faced the second highest number of cyberattacks in Asia Pacific in 2020 after Japan, accounting for 7% of all attacks in the region. Finance and insurance were the most targeted sectors followed by manufacturing and professional services, said IBM’s new report on Wednesday.

The pandemic-led shift to remote working and learning has triggered a wave of new cyberattacks targeting poorly secured or vulnerable devices and end points.

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According to IBM's 2021 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, published February 24., ransomware was the most widely used attack, accounting for roughly 40% of all attacks detected in India. The soaring cryptocurrency prices, particularly Bitcoin, have also led to a spike in mining of cryptos. Also referred to as cryptojacking, in this attack, hackers remotely control thousands of devices to use their computing power for mining cryptocurrencies.

Indian companies were also targeted by server access attacks in 2020.

Though attacks were detected throughout the year, highest number of attacks on companies in India was reported between May and July. This was a transition phase for several companies coming out of the pan India lockdown.

“The 2020 threat landscape in India was largely shaped by the pandemic. As the pandemic’s timeline of events and progress unfolded, so did attack trends shift," Sudeep Das, security software technical sales leader, IBM Technology Sales, India/South Asia said in a statement.

Das adds, in 2020 we also saw cybercriminals using relief efforts and public health information as spam lures and carry out targeted attacks on critical components of the vaccine supply chain.

As per news reports, pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers working on development and clinical trials of covid-19 vaccines were targeted by state sponsored cyberatatcks in 2020. Indian pharma company Dr Reddy’s was hit by a cyber attack in October.

IBM’s report shows that globally attackers went after hospitals, medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as energy companies involved in the covid-19 vaccine supply chain.

Das feels, these issues will persist in 2021.

Europe experienced more attacks than any other region, accounting for 31% of total attacks. Most companies in the region were targeted by ransomware attacks.

As per the report, ransomware were responsible for nearly one in four attacks across the globe in 2020. Sodinokibi was the most commonly used ransomware group in 2020. According to IBM X-Force’s estimates, the group made over $123 million during the year as two-third of its victims paid ransom.

The findings of IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index are based on data generated from monitoring of over 150 billion security events per day across 130 countries.

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