State-sponsored cyberattacks one of the biggest threats in 2021: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on November 20, 2020

Cybersecurity experts are increasingly concerned about nation-state sponsored cyberattacks according to the 2020 CrowdStrike Global Security Attitude Survey, produced by independent research firm Vanson Bourne.

According to the report, cyber experts fear that such cyberattacks can stifle business growth in a post-Covid world. Out of the cybersecurity experts surveyed, 73 per cent of respondents believe that nation-state sponsored cyberattacks will pose the single biggest threat to organisations like theirs in 2021.

Many professionals are also concerned that this threat would be further accelerated with growing geopolitical tensions. Eighty-nine per cent of experts are fearful that growing international tensions (e.g. US-China trade war) are likely to result in a considerable increase in cyber threats for organisations, the report said. Forty-four per cent of professionals believe that such attacks would be motivated by intelligence, while 47 per cent think that it will take advantage of vulnerabilities caused by Covid-19.

“As growing international tensions and the global election year have created a nesting ground for increased nation-state activity, organisations are under increased pressure to resume operations despite the increased value of intellectual property and vulnerabilities caused by Covid-19,” the report said.

Ransomware, another major threat

Apart from state-sponsored attacks, a ransomware attack is another major threat looming over businesses. Fifty-six per cent of the organisations surveyed have suffered a ransomware attack in the last year. Among those hit by ransomware, 27 per cent of organisations chose to pay the ransom, costing organisations on average $1.1 million owed to hackers.

“The APAC region is suffering the most when paying the ransom with the highest average payout at $1.18 million, followed by EMEA at $1.06 million and the U.S. at $0.99 million,” the report said.

Seventy-one per cent of cybersecurity experts globally are more worried about ransomware attacks due to Covid-19.

Accelerating digital transformation

Cybersecurity experts have accelerated their digital and security transformation efforts to address the growing activity from eCrime and nation-state actors, as per the report. While 61 per cent of respondents’ organisations have spent over $1 million on digital transformation over the past three years, 90 per cent of organisations have spent a minimum of $100,000 this year alone to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic.

66% of participants said that they had modernized their security tools or increased the rollout of cloud technologies as employees have moved to work remotely.

Overall, 78 per cent of respondents have a more positive outlook on their organisation’s overarching security strategy and architecture over the next 12 months.

“This year has been especially challenging for organisations of all sizes around the world, with both the proliferation of ransomware and growing tensions from nation-state actors posing a massive threat to regions worldwide,” said Michael Sentonas, chief technology officer, CrowdStrike.

“Now more than ever, organisations are finding ways to rapidly undergo digital transformation to bring their security to the cloud in order to keep pace with modern-day threats and secure their ‘work from anywhere’ operations. Cybersecurity teams around the globe are making strides in improving their security posture by moving their security infrastructure to the cloud and remaining diligent in their incident detection, response and remediation practices,” Sentonas said.

Published on November 20, 2020

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