A new report from tech security provider BlackBerry finds a 40 percent increase in cyberattacks targeting government agencies and public services organizations during the three months ended in May 2023.

The quarterly Global Threat Intelligence Report published by BlackBerry finds that threat actors’ focus extended “across government agencies, military organizations, businesses, and financial institutions, posing a serious threat to national security and economic stability.”

“Governments and public services, such as public transit, electricity, water services, schools, and non-profit organizations, stand as unfortunate bullseyes for cybercriminals and other threat actors, whose attacks seek to wreak maximum havoc and who often times face very little resistance,” stated Ismael Valenzuela, vice president of Threat Research and Intelligence at BlackBerry.

The report compiles information from March 2023 to May 2023, and finds that “on average, threat actors deployed approximately 11.5 attacks per minute. These threats included roughly 1.7 novel malware samples per minute.”

Across that 90-day timeframe, the report also finds that “healthcare and financial services industries were among the most targeted sectors. The combination of valuable data and critical services presents a lucrative target for cybercriminals, resulting in ransomware gangs directly targeting healthcare organizations and in the proliferation of information-stealing malware, or info stealers.”

Threat actors were observed to emanate primarily from Russia and North Korea, where they have “continually [adapted] their techniques, making it challenging to defend against their attacks,” states the report.

The report finds an increase in malware for mobile devices such as SpyNote and SpinOK that infect targets phones, as well as continued Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

“With limited resources and immature cyber defense programs, these organizations are struggling to defend against the double pronged threat of both nation states and cybercriminals,” stated Valenzuela. “Now, more than ever, they need access to actionable cyber intelligence to direct and strengthen their security strategies, while safeguarding the vital services, institutions, and trust upon which our societies thrive.”

Read More About
More Topics
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.