Study Reveals Alarming Cyberattacks IncreaseBy Jan Hogewoning | Thu, 08/06/2020 - 10:15
A study recently published by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by the cyber exposure company Tenable, revealed several concerning facts about the state of cyberattacks in Mexico. The study was conducted in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US, and interviewed more than 800 global business and cybersecurity executives. These were some of the revelations:
All Countries Surveyed
- All surveyed companies with more than 500 employees, across the different countries, were victim of successful cyberattacks in 2019.
- 94 percent of all companies interviewed in the study had experienced a ‘business impacting’ cyberattack in the last 12 months.
- Yet, only 4 out of 10 security leaders could answer the question: “How secure, or at risk, are we?”
- Almost half of the 108 executives interviewed in Mexico have suffered over five cyberattacks this year. Another 28 percent stated they had been attacked four times.
- The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in cyberattacks growing by at least 50 percent in Mexico.
Another study conducted by the firm Sonicwall found that there were 10 million malware attacks in Mexico in the first six months of this year, with a peak of 3 million in March, El Economista reports. The increase in cyberattacks over the last months is echoed by statements of MBN interviewees. “During the pandemic, phishing attacks have risen by 300 percent,” Eduardo Zamora, Country Director of Fortinet, recently told MBN.
With most companies adopting home office, their vulnerability has increased greatly. “Many people are working from home and we have seen an increase in phishing campaigns and social engineering as a whole,” Carolina Ruiz of cybersecurity company Brier & Thorn stated in a recent interview with MBN. People at home are not protected by the company’s network, unless there is a company VPN in place. In addition, many people are not following good practices when it comes to avoiding phishing campaigns. “These phishing campaigns can come in the form of an email with supposed information about COVID-19, for example,” said Ruiz. Once the employee clicks on a link that promises this information, the attacker can enter their device and obtain access credentials to the company.
The primary impact of cyberattacks on Mexican companies, El Economista writes, is the loss of productivity. However, once attackers gain access to confidential information, they can steal intellectual property, financial resources, or other sensitive confidential company information.
Another area that is vulnerable, according to the study by Forrester Consulting, is Operational Technology (OT). OT refers to industrial control systems at manufacturers, or process control systems for retailers, El Economista states. The report reveals that 67 percent of respondents in Mexico have suffered damage on operating technologies. Frédéric Costé, Managing Director of cybersecurity company KIPPEO Technologies, told MBN about the risk of OT attacks. “A cyberattack on transport systems, power plants, electricity infrastructure or water infrastructure can have a far-reaching impact on a country’s security.” However, OT attacks do not just affect critical public assets. He continues: “…the private sector faces serious threats against its operational infrastructure.” The attacks, whether on IT or OT systems, can be both government or private sector sponsored, he emphasizes. “I cannot understand why people do not take measures before an attack happens and usually wait to respond after the damage has been done.”, he asks. Cyberattacks have the ability to destroy a company, whether financially, operationally, or reputationally.