Security professionals expect rise in nation-state cyber attacks

Security professionals expect rise in nation-state cyber attacks [Image: imaginima via iStock]

Some 93 per cent of information security professionals think the number of nation-state cyber attacks experienced will rise in the next 12 months.

This is according to a survey carried out at the Infosecurity Europe 2018 conference in London by security firm Tripwire.

According to the firm, its results are not particularly surprising, considering that recent high-profile attacks have been attributed to nation-states. It pointed to the examples of WannaCry being attributed to North Korea and Russia being thought to have conducted a recent campaign against routers and network infrastructure.

Most respondents to Tripwire’s poll did report feeling that the scope of nation-state attacks are evolving in “more troubling ways”. A total of 83 per cent said they believe nation-states will extend their targets to attack more private (non-government) organisations over the next year.

Tripwire said this aligns with what former director general of GCHQ Robert Hannigan said during his talk at Infosecurity Europe. Mr Hannigan said that five years ago, the industry was aware of nation-state attacks, but that they would have been viewed as something only another nation-state should be worried about. However, they are currently a problem for everyone, he explained.

A further 83 per cent of those surveyed also believed that nation-state attacks on critical infrastructure are set to increase over the coming year. The same number of respondents said these attacks will go beyond espionage and aim to cause direct harm.

Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire, said: “Recent threats like Triton/Trisis and Industroyer/CrashOverride have made it clear that cyber attacks can have dangerous physical impacts on critical infrastructure. Securing critical infrastructure at the industrial control system layer, where physical meets digital, is absolutely crucial.”

On a more positive note, the survey also suggested that businesses are taking action against the threat of these attacks, with 69 per cent saying their organisations have increased efforts to defend against nation-state attacks over the past year.