Outside of major hacking threats like Russia and China, other countries are increasingly turning to cyberattacks and data theft – and the rise of cloud services is helping them.
The number of hostile nation-state hacking operations is rising as new countries invest in cyber-intrusion campaigns and existing state-backed attack groups take advantage of the rise in organisations adopting cloud applications.
Crowdstrike’s 2022 Global Threat Report details how the cyber-threat landscape has evolved during the past year. One of those developments is the rise of new countries engaging in offensive cyber operations, including Turkey and Colombia.
Ultimately, countries are seeing that cyber campaigns can be easier to conduct than traditional espionage and are investing in these techniques.
There are a lot of countries out there that look at this and realise it’s cheaper, it’s easier and it’s got plausible deniability built into it.
One of the reasons countries are increasing their offensive cyber capabilities is due to the impact of the global pandemic. Lockdowns and stringent travel checks made it harder for traditional espionage techniques to be effective, leading towards investment in cyber operations.
“It’s created a little bit more demand or accelerated planning around developing cyber capabilities for some of these countries that would have perhaps relied on other means previously.
The shift towards cloud applications and cloud IT services has also played an unwitting role in making cyberattacks easier. The rise of hybrid working means many employees aren’t based in an office, instead connecting remotely via collaborative applications, VPNs and other services – using a username and password.
That makes being productive while working remotely simpler for employees – but it’s also made things simpler for hacking groups, who can secretly access networks with a stolen – or guessed – username and password.
Some of the biggest cybersecurity incidents of recent years, like the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange attacks, have demonstrated how an attack targeting cloud services and cloud supply chains could be powerful, particularly if cloud is misconfigured or poorly monitored.
As organisations are moving to the cloud and looking to develop better capabilities, threat actors are moving there as well.
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