Rise of state-sponsored cyberattacks poses a significant threat to the stability of our interconnected world

Ukraine was a victim of 29 state-sponsored attacks in 2022. Behind most of the government-backed attacks stand China and Russia, with 44 and 38 cyberattacks, respectively. 

Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN, Vilius Kardelis, says: “The rise of state-sponsored cyberattacks poses a significant threat to the stability of our interconnected world.

”Governments must collaborate to establish clear rules of engagement in cyberspace to prevent the expansion of malicious cyber activities that undermine trust and confidence in the digital infrastructure.” 

The data is based on Council on Foreign Relations Cyber Operations Tracker. The cyber operations tracker categorises all instances of publicly known state-sponsored cyber activity since 2005.

China and Russia behind most attacks

Among other things, it shows that the United States suffered 14 state-sponsored cyberattacks. Most of these attacks came from Iran or China-backed hackers who launched phishing and malware campaigns against US companies or government entities. 

State-backed hackers launched seven attacks on Russia in 2022. The majority of them were by the Ukrainian IT army in response to Kremlin’s started war on Ukraine. 

South Korea was a victim of six government-backed cyberattacks. North Korean cybercriminals were behind most of the threats. In addition, they were responsible for all five attacks on cryptocurrency companies. 

State-sponsored spying 

Governments around the world are engaged in a race to gather as much intelligence as possible. Nonetheless, out of all government-backed attacks in 2022, 110 were launched to spy on another country or organisation.

Financial theft was the reason behind 11 threats, while cybercriminals destroyed sensitive information in 8 cyberattacks. 

Governments were the primary targets of state-backed hackers, as they launched 75 attacks on such entities. Businesses faced 55 nation-sponsored cyberattacks.

Cybercriminals hacked journalists, human rights activists, or other citizens 48 times. Lastly, military objects suffered 8 state-sponsored cyberattacks.