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10 Facts About Nation-State Cyberattacks That Will Keep You Up At Night

November 19, 2020
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These Facts About Nation-State Cyberattacks Prove That They Aren’t Just a Government Problem Anymore

Throughout the US election season, the media was focused on nation-state cyberattacks and the possibility of those threat actors affecting the outcome of the US elections. But what often gets glossed over is the potential for economic and defensive harm on a large scale presented by this threat. As shadowy cybercrime gangs step up their efforts, even interfering in COVID-19 vaccine research, it’s clear that nation-state cyberattacks against public and private sector targets are here to stay – and that fact that needs to become a part of every company’s risk calculus immediately.

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10 Essential Facts About Nation-State Cyberattacks

Nation-state cybercrime gangs are especially problematic for businesses because they’re not just your average hackers. These threat actors are sophisticated, practiced, and innovative, with deep playbooks and access to cutting-edge technology to facilitate their attacks – and they’ve got their fingers in every pie. They’re patient and willing to do slow, personalized work to take down the right targets because they’re motivated by ideology instead of profit, making them especially dangerous.

Keep these facts in mind as you explore the danger that nation-state hackers could pose to your business:

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Every Industry is at Risk

In the past, nation-state hackers were a more distant concept for average businesses. While they’ve always been a national security concern and a possible threat to infrastructure on a national level, less publically-directed companies, and local governments were unlikely to ever have to deal with nation-state hackers interfering in their operations. Quasi-government sponsored groups like Russian intelligence-adjacent APT 29 have been responsible for attacks against government agencies around the world but generally steered clear of businesses.

But that all changed in 2020, and now nation-state hacking is everyone’s problem. State-sponsored or state-adjacent cybercrime gangs with origins in Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, and other countries that are active in the espionage game have been expanding their efforts to include targets that directly impact our everyday lives. These bad actors have been responsible for everything from industrial sabotage to infrastructure interference in 2020, including a recent spate of ransomware attacks from nation-state actors on healthcare targets.

In December 2020 the true impact of a massive, precisely targeted nation-state attack was felt by the United States government and many large corporations in the wake of a breach at cybersecurity software giant SolarWinds. A messy tangle of back doors, fake patches, malicious code, email compromise, phishing, and more was unraveled exposing the alarming fact that likely Russia-sponsored nation-state hackers had been inside US government and defense agency systems for months, accessing all sorts of information. The same group of hackers was also linked to attacks at Microsoft, Cisco, FireEye, and more major tech players.

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Damaging Businesses and Services is the Name of the Game

Data theft is typically the purpose behind cybercrime, but that’s not the only goal of these threat actors, or even the most common. Instead of just snatching data, nation-state hackers like to take it a step further, using tools like ransomware and other malware to shut down manufacturing, interfere with logistics, and disrupt important research. They’re especially predisposed to finding their way past a company’s security by sneaking in through a third-party vendor or in the supply chain.

Just in the last few months, we’ve seen these gangs hit:

The idea that disrupting production, transportation, and services is an effective attack tactic has been used in conventional warfare for years, but the ability to do that without leaving the house is a newer concept that calls for increased vigilance and increased protection for every business.

Protect Your Business from Nation-State Cybercrime

Lock Up Your Systems and Data Yourself

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Enlist your employees into your efforts to watch for trouble

Ransomware is the preferred tool for nation-state cybercrime gangs making phishing even more dangerous. Protecting your business against today’s biggest threat starts with increasing your security awareness training, especially phishing resistance. With BullPhish ID, refreshing and upkeeping your training is a breeze. No special knowledge is needed to run campaigns, and more than 80 plug-and-play phishing training simulations are available for you to choose from – in 8 languages! Plus, we add 4 fresh kits a month to be sure that your staff is up-to-date on the latest threats like COVID-19 lures. SEE THE NEWLY UPDATED BULLPHISH ID>>

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Don’t Tempt Fate and Wait Until It’s Too Late

In today’s tumultuous world and a correspondingly rapidly evolving threat landscape, every business needs to be prepared for the possibility of cyberattacks from nation-state cybercrime gangs, especially healthcare, manufacturing, and infrastructure targets. Contact ID Agent today to speak with a security consultant who can help you make a plan to protect your business from nation-state cybercrime.

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