European Organisations and NATO More Often the Target of Cyberattacks

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The number of cyberattacks against EU bodies has increased tenfold since 2018. That is what CERT-EU calculated. Google, meanwhile, warns of targeted Russian attacks on NATO and European institutions.

 

Cyberattacks targeting EU bodies are on the rise. This should be apparent from a report by the European Court of Auditors. The report states that between 2018 and 2021, i.e. before the war in Ukraine, the number of major cyber incidents at EU bodies increased more than tenfold. This concerns, for example, the cyber attack on the European Medicines Agency, in which information about vaccines was leaked.

In the report, the Court of Audit examined how well the various administrative bodies are prepared for a possible cyber threat. This should show, among other things, that one administrative body deals with this better than another, but in general, the defence is not in proportion to the increasing threats. In addition, a deficiency in one body can jeopardise the security of the others, as the institutions are closely intertwined. Therefore, the auditors recommend introducing binding cybersecurity rules and allocating more resources to the European computer crisis response team CERT-EU.

While the EU saw the number of attacks increase tenfold until last year, Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) is now issuing a warning about the current situation. The tech giant’s research group sees that attackers are increasingly taking advantage of the war in Ukraine to target Eastern European countries and NATO member states with phishing and malware attacks.

In a report, Google highlights a series of targeted phishing attacks by the Russia-based group COLDRIVER on the NATO Center of Excellence and some Eastern European military services. Russian hackers also allegedly target several American NGOs and a Ukrainian defence supplier. In addition, a Chinese military group, Curious Gorge, would turn governments and military organisations in Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

So many nation-states, but TAG also warns against ‘ordinary’ criminals. They’ve been using major news incidents, from COVID to celebrities, to get people to click on their phishing links for years, and the war in Ukraine is no different. “Criminal and financially motivated groups are using current events to target users,” Google said in the report. “For example, an attacker poses as military personnel to extort money from victims to save relatives in Ukraine.

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