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Cyberattacks surge by 33% in a year

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

According to the data presented by Atlas VPN, cyberattacks have increased by 33% since last year – The total amount of malicious attacks in Q1 rose from 538 in 2020 to 713 in 2021.

In January 2020, there were a total of 160 cyberattacks. Meanwhile, January 2021 saw 183 malicious attacks — 14% more than the same month last year.

Looking at February’s numbers, we can see a tremendous increase in cyberattacks in 2021 compared to 2020. Malicious attacks jumped by 33% from 191 in 2020 to 254 in 2021.

In March 2021, cyberattacks grew more than 50% compared to March 2020. The total number of attacks went up from 187 to 276.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN, William Sword, said: “A significant increase in cyberattacks has shown that many companies or government administrations are not prepared to handle cybersecurity threats. With more and more people becoming victims of hackers, responsible institutions should step up their efforts in the cybersecurity field.”

Cybercriminals employ various techniques to penetrate vulnerable systems. Malware continues to be one of the most used techniques for cyberattacks. In Q1 2021 it was employed in 32% of all cyberattack cases. Hackers use malware to trick a victim into providing personal data for identity theft.

Unknown attacks were the second most-used in the first quarter of this year at 22%. The unknown threat is classified as such when a security product cannot recognize its code, which is why it is tough to stop such attacks.

Next up is account takeover (ATO). This type of cyberattack technique was used in 14% of all cyberattacks in Q1 2021.

Click here to read the full report.

Deloitte hit by cyber hack

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Global accountancy firm Deloitte has been hit by a targeted hack, resulting in confidential emails and client plans being compromised.

The attack is thought to have gone unnoticed for several months before the firm being alerted in March this year.

The Guardian reported that the accountancy giant was the victim of a sophisticated hack that revealed confidential information regarding clients, including multinational companies, media enterprises and government agencies.

Six of Deloitte’s clients have been informed that they have been “impacted” by the hack. An internal investigation is ongoing.

Discussing the hack, a spokesperson for Deloitte said: “In response to a cyber incident, Deloitte implemented its comprehensive security protocol and began an intensive and thorough review including mobilising a team of cybersecurity and confidentiality experts inside and outside of Deloitte.

“As part of the review, Deloitte has been in contact with the very few clients impacted and notified governmental authorities and regulators.

“The review has enabled us to understand what information was at risk and what the hacker actually did, and demonstrated that no disruption has occurred to client businesses, to Deloitte’s ability to continue to serve clients, or to consumers.

“We remain deeply committed to ensuring that our cybersecurity defences are best in class, to investing heavily in protecting confidential information and to continually reviewing and enhancing cybersecurity. We will continue to evaluate this matter and take additional steps as required.

“Our review enabled us to determine what the hacker did and what information was at risk as a result. That amount is a very small fraction of the amount that has been suggested.”




‘Brute force’ cyber attack on Scottish Parliament

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Officials have confirmed that the Scottish Parliament has been targeted by a “brute force” cyber attack, similar to that which affected Westminster in June.

Chief executive Sir Paul Grice confirmed the attack in a message to MSPs and staff with parliamentary email addresses, and said the attack was from “external sources” and urged all members to be vigilant.

Grice added that systems “remain fully operational” and that “robust cyber security measures” had identified the attack early.

Grice also urged all MSPs and staff to make sure passwords were as secure as possible and that parliament’s IT team would “force a change to weak passwords as an additional security measure.”

“The parliament’s monitoring systems have identified that we are currently the subject of a brute force cyber attack from external sources,” wrote Grice.

“This attack appears to be targeting parliamentary IT accounts in a similar way to that which affected the Westminster parliament in June. Symptoms of the attack include account lockouts or failed logins.

“The parliament’s robust cyber security measures identified this attack at an early stage and the additional security measures which we have in readiness for such situations have already been invoked. Our IT systems remain fully operational.”

Hackers involved in a ‘brute force’ attack try to access systems by systematically using a range of different passwords in the hope that a correct password is delivered through trial and error.


NTT Report: Cyber attacks on the rise and with greater sophistication

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

A report released by NTT Security has revealed that the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks continues to rise globally.

Based on events during the second quarter of 2017, data from the Global Threat Intelligence Center (GTIC) 2017 Q2 Threat Intelligence Report identifies trending threats and enables the company to implement IT security assessment and incident response tactics to stay ahead of hackers, and maintain the best protection for their clientele.

The report found that:

– Cyber attacks were up 24% globally during Q2 2017

– Manufacturers continue to be a key target for cybercriminals

– 67% of malware attacks were delivered by phishing emails

– The speed of attacks continues to increase exponentially once proof of concept code is released

“Our Global Threat Intelligence Centers are constantly monitoring cyber activities on a global scale and providing us with great insight as to which industries cybercriminals are targeting, why they’re targeting these areas, and how they may do so moving forward,” said Jon Heimerl, Manager, Threat Intelligence Communication Team, NTT Security. “This latest GTIC 2017 Q2 Threat Intelligence Report documents that hackers continue to target the manufacturing sector, which should be a red flag for CISOs across this market segment.”

According to the GTIC 2017 Q2 Threat Intelligence Report’s latest findings, 34% of all documented attacks targeted manufacturers. Moreover, manufacturers appear in the top three targets in five of the six geographic regions globally.

“This is no coincidence,” continued Heimerl. “The motivations for these attacks are often criminal in nature, including extortion via ransomware, industrial espionage, and theft of data such as account numbers. What poses an even greater problem is that when these breaches are successful, yet go undetected, they allow hackers to establish footholds in organisations’ networks where they have free reign to wreak havoc over extended periods. This is a problem if we consider that 37% of manufacturers recently surveyed (, indicated they do not have an incident response plan in place. This is very concerning as manufacturers’ IT security liabilities often impacted not just the manufacturing organisations, but suppliers, as well as related industries and consumers.”

Download the Global Threat Intelligence Centre (GTIC) 2017 Q2 Threat Intelligence Report here