“The Internet is a prime example of how terrorists can behave in a truly transnational way; in response, States need to think and function in an equally transnational manner.” – Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
For over 20 years, companies of all sizes have been impacted by the ever-growing list of various cyberattacks. Over the years, these cyberattacks have grown in frequency and severity and, now, rank at the top of many executives’ concerns related to business stability. These concerns are not surprising considering it’s almost impossible to predict how and when a company might fall victim to a cyberattack as the threat vectors continue to evolve.
In the past, companies were mainly focused on the loss of personally identifiable information, and the idea of a state-sponsored cyberattack was not even on the radar. Unfortunately, some of these state-sponsored cyberattacks have led to the largest losses and can no longer be ignored. They have impacted millions of companies and have caused billions in financial harm. According to the Verizon 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, Nation-State or State affiliated players were the second largest group of cyber criminals behind Organized Crime. One can look at the recent history and find multiple significant state-sponsored cyberattacks.
- 2017 – WannaCry ransomware launched by North Korea
- 2018 – NotPetya ransomware launched by the Russian Military
- 2019 – Several major German industrial firms, including BASF, Siemens and Henkel announced that they had been the victim of a state-sponsored hacking campaign reported to be linked to the Chinese government
- 2019 – Nation state hackers breached the networks of two U.S. municipalities, exfiltrating user information and establishing backdoor access for future compromise
- 2020 – U.S. officials accused hackers linked to the Chinese government of attempting to steal U.S. research into a coronavirus vaccine
- 2020 – North Korean state hackers sent COVID-19-themed phishing emails to more than 5 million businesses and individuals in Singapore, Japan, the United States, South Korea, India and the UK in an attempt to steal personal and financial data
- 2020 – FBI chief slams Chinese cyberattacks on U.S. amounting to what he calls “one of the largest transfer of wealth in human history”