A ransomware attack took place every 11 seconds in 2021, as opposed to every 39 seconds in 2019, the National Computer Security Incident Response Team for Cyprus (CSIRT-CY) said on Friday.
CSIRT-CY said that during 2021, 43 per cent of cyberattacks were against small and medium sized businesses, adding that these attacks increased by 400 per cent during the pandemic.
It also reported that several foreign governments, businesses and organisations were affected by advanced persistent threats (APTs) – a broad term used to describe an attack campaign in which an intruder, or team of intruders, establishes an illicit, long-term presence on a network to mine highly sensitive data.
To reduce APT-related risk, network protection procedures should be implemented and best practices complied with, CSIRT-CY said, adding that “these guidelines can facilitate risk management and mitigate the threat”.
Their statement explained that by stealing passwords, an attacker can obtain the victim’s personal data and contacts and then use them to create fake email accounts posing as people the victim knows, to launch a cyberattack.
“Phishing emails are sent containing malware and malicious attachments, which are then used to exploit various common vulnerabilities in the software on the receiving end”.
This tactic can also use someone’s personal data to make unauthorised purchases or access secure systems.
The public were urged to use antivirus programmes that they keep up to date, and always pay attention to notifications and updates, as this type of software can help keep viruses and other malicious software at bay by automatically spotting, quarantining and removing them.
According to the statement, people should also make sure they use a firewall and create strong passwords, which could double their protection on the web.