THE COMBINATION of mounting geopolitical tensions, the looming economic downturn and the push to digitalise business processes is creating a “perfect storm” for hackers, cybersecurity experts told City A.M.
NCC chief executive Mike Maddison said the digitisation agenda on the back of the global pandemic has created new opportunities for hackers in opening up new ways to infiltrate and take advantage of companies.
The push to digitalise business processes comes as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and worsening relations with China have also led to an uptick in cyberattacks from state-backed hacking groups.
In turn, the looming global recession also threatens to create stronger incentives for cybercriminals, as computer savvy individuals increasingly turn towards crime.
Elad Leon, a cybersecurity expert at Israeli firm CYE, told City A.M. there has been an increase in cyberattacks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
He said the uptick in cyberattacks is also a result of increasing numbers of cyber proficient people entering the business amid the widespread proliferation of highly-effective hacking tools.
Leon said North Korean hackers have played a particularly prolific role in launching cyberattacks against major players in the global financial sector.
He said Russian and Chinese hackers have tended to focus more on infrastructure companies and firms with key assets of military significance.
Maddison noted that there is often a significant lack of distinction between state-backed hackers and independent cybercriminals that are either hired by governments or simply launch attacks against enemies of their home states on their own volition.
Leon noted that hostile states are willing to take a blind eye to those hacking their geopolitical rivals.
Ryan Kalember, executive vice president of cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, said “opportunistic cybercriminals” are taking advantage of political and economic volatility, as he noted there has been an uptick in attacks on the back of the war in Ukraine.