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Governments are becoming popular targets for cyberattack

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/GlebStock)

Targeted cyberattacks, in which hackers carefully choose who they attack, and diligently prepare before actually executing their attack, are on the rise.

This is according to Positive Technologies’ new report, which claims that in the second quarter of the year, 59 per cent of all cyberattacks were targeted, as opposed to 47 per cent in the previous quarter. Hackers mostly target government organisations, it was added.

Cryptojacking, a form of malware which hijacks a device and forces it to mine cryptocurrency for the attacker, is experiencing a full revival, with the report’s authors believing Bitcoin’s quick rise in value being one of the main catalysts.

Since the beginning of 2019, Bitcoin’s price has more than doubled.

Despite the rise in cryptojacking’s popularity, data theft is still the number one priority for criminals. Almost a third (29 per cent) of all attacks targeted personal data, and attacks on individuals often have account credentials and payment information as their goal.

Bringing in money was the main motive behind 30 per cent of attacks on companies, and 42 per cent of attacks on individuals.

"Companies often store large databases with personal data and credentials of their clients, and criminals are also interested in usernames and passwords of the employees of target companies. As for individual users, the public has a bad track record when it comes to securing their accounts. They use weak passwords or re-use passwords across sites, enter passwords for websites without checking their authenticity, and also give out information that could help an attacker to guess their password. This is why credentials and payment information are such a high target,” commented Leigh-Anne Galloway, Cyber Security Resilience Lead at Positive Technologies.