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Cyber incidents spiked by 50% amid coronavirus pandemic – INCD

CM 04/04/2021

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Cyber incidents spiked by 50% in 2020 in Israel, as cyberattacks increased around the world during the coronavirus pandemic, the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) announced on Saturday in its annual summary of 2020.

The INCD received over 14,000 reports, of which over 9,000 ended up being cyber incidents, in 2020 – a 50% increase compared to 2019.
Of the 9,000 incidents, 60% were cases of hacking on social networks, 14% were phishing attempts, another 14% were cases of information theft, 3% were reports of weaknesses in computer systems, another 3% were cases of hacking into systems, another 3% were on malware such as ransomware, 2% were on impairment of functional continuity and 1% were on the bypass of identification mechanisms.
The annual report pointed specifically to a number of large scale incidents it dealt with, including the cyberattack on the Shirbit insurance company (part of an increase in ransomware attacks in Israel and around the world), attempts to target Israel’s water supply, a largescale defacement of hundreds of websites and attempts to target logistics and shipping companies in Israel, amid other incidents.
The highest number of attempted cyberattacks targeted the technology, energy, government, finance, academic and health sectors, as well as supply chain companies.
The coronavirus forced many organizations and companies to quickly move to a work-from-home format without adequate preparation, leading to some compromises on the level of security, the report stressed, adding that this situation created new opportunities for attackers.
Some 170 broad alerts and 120 organization- or sector-specific alerts were published by the INCD during 2020 as well. The INCD also made 5,000 inquiries to bodies and organizations calling on them to close up weaknesses that exposed them to attacks and was in contact with about 1,400 bodies that experienced an attempted attack or attacks.

During 2020, the INCD also worked to increase awareness of and protection against cyber threats with a variety of projects.
Some 40 critical systems in critical government infrastructure were strengthened against cyberthreats, with no damage caused by cyberattacks on these systems in 2020.
The INCD also worked to protect the elections for the 23rd Knesset against cyberthreats and to protect the Israeli health system against the increased amount of attacks targeting it in 2020.
Additionally, the INCD conducted a wide range of projects and technological developments to protect Israel against cyberthreats, including the “Hercules” project to map systems in the aerospace sector, cybersecurity solutions for 5G networks, systems to track cyber intelligence and distribute information on cyberthreats in Israel and internationally and projects to protect supply chains, among other projects.
Some four new bilateral cybersecurity agreements were signed with India, Kazakhstan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Health-ISAC organization in 2020 as well.
The INCD worked in 2020 with the regulated sectors of the economy to create cybersecurity policies for each sector, and published over 20 guides and recommendations for citizens to raise awareness about cybersecurity. For the first time, the INCD held “Cybersecurity Week” with the goal of raising the personal cyber protection of the general population.
Israeli exports in cybersecurity in 2020 were estimated at $6.85 billion and over 100 businesses in the sector raised about $2.9 billion, a more than 70% increase compared to the year before, according to the report. Some 33% of the unicorns (privately held start-up companies valued at over $1 billion) in the world were Israeli companies in 2020 and 31% of the investments in the cyber world were in Israel as well.
“The past year has been full of challenges in all areas of our lives. In cyber too we have faced new challenges that have undoubtedly been a step up when it comes to cyberspace,” said INCD chief Yigal Unna in the annual report. “The coronavirus crisis has forced us all to use online services and remote connection for work from home, and the more we used digital platforms, the more the cyberattack surface grew.”
“The new challenges in cyber do not pass over any of us. Cyber defense is a group game of sharing information and mutual knowledge between us all, a combination that is necessary to build a reality that will stop the next attack or (cyber) epidemic,” added Unna.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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