State-sponsored cyber attacks expected to rise

| March 10, 2022

Given today’s geo-political escalations within eastern Europe, there is expected increase in state-sponsored cyberattacks against NATO Nations.  Nations are finding that it is easier and cheaper to disrupt rival states by utilizing vulnerabilities in devices connected to critical infrastructure.  The international cyber group, Anonymous, is already targeting Russian agencies and businesses.  They have claimed over 1500 attacks have already happened. 

What is a state sponsored cyber attack?

By disrupting network communication or planting malware in a key component it is possible for a rival nation to significantly damage critical components of a system.  The first known state-sponsored cyber attack was Stuxnet, which infected supervisor control and data acquisition systems and is responsible for causing significant damage to Iran’s nuclear program back in 2010. 

While Stuxnet was considered a worm (type of malware) there are many other types of attacks such as Ransomware (funding for rival nations), Spyware (to gain intelligence), Trojans (something to be executed in the future), Spyware (for collecting data/espionage), and Bots (To launch flood attacks that could disrupt communication or access to critical systems).

Systems that are key targets:

  • Power Grids
  • Water Treatment
  • Dams
  • Hospitals
  • Transportation
  • Banking

Why is it important to your organization?

Many will say that they are not concerned.  What would a foreign nation want with my computer or my organization?  The answers are straight forward:

  • Funding (ransomware)
  • Access to other systems (Do you work with another organization that may have access to critical or government materials) through your systems.  An example would be an HVAC contractor’s laptop enabled an attack on target department stores (stolen credit card information)
  • Using your computer and many others to create a denial-of-service attack

While you may not consider yourself a threat to national security your computer systems are at risk of assisting a foreign entity wage cyber warfare against your own country!  There is no one immune to getting hacked.

WHat can we do to defend our country?

The answer is – do not be an easy target.  Every system you own that is connected to a network is susceptible to a foreign nation attack.  Here are some very easy things you can do:

  • Use Multi-Factor authentication for every application you have
  • Use a password manager system to randomize your passwords for all websites
  • Use a modern operating system and modern applications.
  • Patch your applications and systems regularly
  • Use endpoint detection and response software on your systems (Advanced Anti-Virus)

Concensus can help you with a full cybersecurity program for your organization.  Our lifecycle program will help your organization (large or small) secure your most important digital assets and continually keep you up to date.  We offer a free high-level cybersecurity assessment for your organization to help you identify key areas.

Contact our team today to learn more about how Concensus can help.

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