Cyber attacks against government agencies and public sector services increased by 40% in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the first, a new report by KnowBe4 has highlighted.
The Cybercrime in the Public Sector report examines the most popular and prolific cybercrimes of 2023, including cybercrime trends, statistics and real life examples on a global scale as well as breaking it down by specific countries and regions.
Research has shown that government agencies and law practices experienced the largest spike in ransomware attacks at 95% in quarter three of 2023. Moreover, global ransomware attacks were up by 95% in the third quarter of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022.
Government agencies and public institutions collect troves of personal and private information on citizens, including their financial details, their diseases and medications, or their children’s health and education records. It’s why cybercriminals actively target these organisations as such information is highly valuable on the dark web.
Furthermore, when this personal data ends up on the dark web at the hands of an anonymous hacker, it is personally devastating; it also opens the victims up to harassment, identify theft, and fraud, and shatters their trust in the agencies they need to trust most. Given the level of damage that can be caused by these attacks, it should not be surprising that the public sector is becoming an increasingly attractive target for cybercriminals.
These cybercriminals are levaraging social engineering methods such as phishing, vishing, spear phishing, and smishing which continue to be the most popular and effective tactics used by cybercriminals to gain access to systems and initiate their attacks. There is a critical need to strengthen the human aspect of cybersecurity within organizations through comprehensive security awareness training. It is an undeniable fact that employees, the last line of defense, can inadvertently become the weakest link in the security chain.
“Through proper training initiatives, this cost-effective and straightforward approach can effectively counteract social
engineering tactics,” Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, KnowBe4. “However, as the sophistication of attacks designed to exploit the human factor increases, the continuous reinforcement of a strong security culture is an indispensable tool for enduring digital defense and operational continuity.”
To review the cybercrime in the public sector, click here.
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Author: Rohit Chavda