2 min

A new investigation by security company Positive Technologies shows that targeted cyber attacks are increasingly taking place with the aim of targeting governments. The research report investigated cyber attacks in the second quarter of 2019.

Targeted cyber attacks are carefully prepared in advance. This is in contrast to opportunistic cybercriminals who abuse a certain IT vulnerability and then attack all possible targets with that vulnerability. According to the research, targeted attacks in general are on the increase. 59 percent of cyber attacks were targeted, compared to only 47 percent in the previous quarter of 2019.

According to Positive Technologies, most of these attacks were carried out for the benefit of government organisations. Of the types of cyber attacks, cryptojacking, a type of malware used to take over devices, was particularly noticeable. The copied device is then used for cryptographic currency depreciations. This type of attack is coming back strongly after it previously occurred less often, probably due to the increase in value of bitcoin and other cryptic currencies.

Cryptojacking re-emerging, data theft still most common

Even though cryptojacking is coming back strongly, data theft and abuse is still the most common type of cyber attack. 29 percent of the cyber-attacks were carried out for this purpose, according to the investigation. These attacks are often intended to capture financial information such as bank details. That’s why they’re often focused on individuals. In 30% of cases, the aim of attacks on companies was to steal money. This was 42 percent for attacks on persons.

“Companies often store large databases of their customers’ personal data, and criminals are also interested in the usernames and passwords of the target company’s employees. As far as individual users are concerned, the public has a poor record of protecting their accounts. They use weak passwords or re-use passwords on different sites, enter passwords for websites without checking their authenticity and also give away information that can help an attacker to guess their password. That’s why payment information is such a big target,” explains Leigh-Anne Galloway, Cyber Security Resilience Lead at Positive Technologies.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.