Visible to the public "Armed Conflict Draws Closer as State-Backed Cyber-Attacks Intensify"Conflict Detection Enabled

A senior lecturer in criminology from the University of Surrey, Mike McGuire, has found in a new study that there has been a 100% increase in "significant" state-backed attacks between 2017 and 2020, and an average of over 10 publicly attributed attacks per month in 2020 alone. Although the most significant number (50%) featured surveillance tools, a worrying 14% were focused on damage or destruction, while more than 40% had a physical and digital component. Most (64%) of the experts McGuire consulted during his research claimed the escalation in tensions last year were "worrying" or "very worrying." McGuire suggests that factors such as increased weaponization and the readiness of governments to define network attacks as "acts of war" are moving the world into a "dangerous stage" and closer to what he dubs "advanced cyber-conflict" than at any time since the digital age began. The research also revealed how the lines between nation-state and cybercrime attacks are increasingly blurring. Mcguire claimed that 10-15% of dark web vendor sales now go to "atypical" purchasers, including state actors looking to stockpile zero-day exploits. In addition, half (50%) of nation-state attacks now feature low-grade tools bought from the cybercrime underground, while just 20% involve custom malware and exploits built in-house. A majority (58%) of experts consulted for the report claimed it is becoming more common for governments to recruit cyber-criminals to carry out attacks, and (65%) said some nation-states launch attacks to generate revenue.

Infosecurity reports: "Armed Conflict Draws Closer as State-Backed Cyber-Attacks Intensify"