State-sponsored cyberattacks are carried out to espionage secret government data, disrupt services or identify and exploit national infrastructure vulnerabilities. According to the data collected by the Atlas VPN team, Russia and China sponsored over 50 cyberattacks in 2022, with Ukraine being the most targeted country.
Russian-backed hackers carried out 27 cyberattacks in 2022. The attacks mainly targeted Ukraine due to the war started by Russia. Ukrainian government websites, organizations, and broadcasting companies suffered a total of 23 espionage, data destruction, or denial of service attacks.
China has sponsored 24 cyberattacks this year so far. State-backed hackers attacked the United States, Indian and Taiwanese governments and organizations. With the growing tensions between China, Taiwan, and the US, such cyberattacks could happen even more often in the year’s second half.
North Korea-sponsored hackers engaged in 9 cyberattacks. Their main targets were the US and South Korea. Iran sponsored 8 cyberattacks in 2022. Most of their attacks were against countries in the Middle East or the US.
Besides Ukraine as the most attacked country, the US was the second most targeted with 10 attacks. Russia and India followed next, as both suffered 7 state-sponsored cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN Vilius Kardelis shares his thoughts on state-sponsored cyberattacks:
“As geopolitical tensions rise, so does the possibility of state-sponsored cyberattacks. It is hardly a surprise that mainly China and Russia are responsible for many of the threats that governments and businesses face. Their hackers are well-funded and persistent, which makes them capable of extremely damaging cyberattacks.”
Cyberattacks carried out with the support of governments are typically well-resourced and highly sophisticated, allowing them to inflict tremendous harm on their victims.
State-sponsored hackers carried out 44 cyberattacks against government entities in 2022. Some hackers use malware, which destroys sensitive government information, causing unrepairable damages.
The private sector suffered from 37 state-sponsored cyberattacks. Hackers targeted civil society in 29 state-sponsored cyberattacks. Civil society refers to activists, journalists, and politicians from the opposition party. State-sponsored threat actors carried out 6 cyberattacks on military officials.
Espionage on government, private sector, civil society, and military accounted for 66 cyberattacks.
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