Displaying items by tag: attacks

Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are facing scrutiny following the horrific terrorist attack in New Zealand. 

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Cybersecurity is once again under intense scrutiny and focus following a spate of recent hacking scandals and crises which have engulfed the ICT sector. The global ransomware attacks served only to show that many nations are still extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks which can completely destabilize major organizations and institutions, such as the NHS in the UK, which is a high-profile victim of the recent ransomware attack.

However, a survey conducted by the ITU on cybersecurity has once again unearthed some worrying statistics over the practices and defenses some of the world’s leading countries have in place to combat the on-going cyber-threat.

The UN revealed that Singapore has a near-perfect approach to cybersecurity, but alarming many other economically prosperous countries have holes in their defenses, and some poorer countries are showing them what approach they should adopt when it comes to cybersecurity. According to the ITU, wealth breeds cybercrime, but it does not necessarily generate cybersecurity, so it has insisted that governments must ensure they are prepared for attacks at any time.

A spokesman for the ITU survey said, “There is still an evident gap between countries in terms of awareness, understanding, knowledge and finally capacity to deploy the proper strategies, capabilities and programs.”

Singapore came out on top of the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index survey, and whilst the United States was ranked second, many other high profile and influential countries were rated poorly, lagging behind many developing nations and economies.

The rest of the top 10 were Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France and Canada. Russia ranked 11th. India was 25th, one place ahead of Germany, and China was 34th. It was disclosed that ranking was based on each countries’ legal, technical and organizational institutions and their research and educational capabilities. In addition to this, their cooperation in information-sharing networks was also examined.

The ITU added, "Cybersecurity is an ecosystem where laws, organizations, skills, cooperation and technical implementation need to be in harmony to be most effective. The degree of interconnectivity of networks implies that anything and everything can be exposed, and everything from national critical infrastructure to our basic human rights can be compromised."

The ITU also stressed the critical importance of adopting and implementing a national security strategy, but added that 50% of countries have none. Amongst some of the countries that placed higher than their economic development was 57th placed North Korea;  however, it’s been suggested they were let down by its cooperation score, but still ranked three spots ahead of the much-richer Spain.

The smallest rich countries also scored badly - Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino were all well down the second half of the table. The Vatican ranked 186th out of 195 countries in the survey. But no country did worse than Equatorial Guinea, which scored zero.

Russian internet security giant Kaspersky recently announced that massive DDoS attacks had hit at least five of Russia’s largest banks. One of Russia’s largest state-owned banks, Sberbank, said it had been hacked into on Tuesday, November 8, but it managed to neutralize the attack automatically without disturbing its operations.

In a media statement, Kaspersky said that the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks began at 1300 GMT which targeted “the websites of at least five well-known financial institutions in the top 10” in Russia. The attacks reportedly continued for an extended period of time. Most of the attacks lasted for about an hour, while the others lasted almost 12 hours.

DDoS attacks involve flooding websites with more traffic than they can handle, making them difficult to access or taking them offline entirely. According to an AFP report, the attacks in Russia saw as many as 660,000 requests being sent per second using a network of more than 24,000 hijacked devices located in 30 countries. More than half the devices were in the United States, India, Taiwan and Israel, Kaspersky said.

Russia’s central bank reached out to AFP and confirmed that it had identified “attacks on a number of large banks,” and described the attacks’ intensity as “medium” adding that they did not necessarily disrupt access to banking services for customers. The bank also confirmed that the attacks used botnets made up of devices linked via the Internet of Thing (IoT) – this includes connected devices such as CCTV cameras of video recorders connected to offices and homes worldwide.

Speaking to Interfax news agency, Stanislav Kuznetsov, a senior executive at Sberbank, said the bank had suffered 68 DDoS attacks this year and that the latest was among the largest. Kaspersky says DDoS attacks “have long been one of the most popular instruments used by criminals to attack businesses.”

 

Published in Government