Global ransomware attacks are increasingly linked to nation states, with the lines between politics and crime often blurring, Europe’s police agency Europol said on Tuesday. Key ransomware attacks include the so-called WannaCry and NotPetya malware, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world in 2017, demanding that users pay ransoms to regain access.”Ransomware retains its dominance,” said Europol’s latest annual report on cybercrime. “In addition to attacks by financially motivated criminals, a significant volume of public reporting increasingly attributes global cyber-attacks to the actions of nation states,” said the agency, based in The Hague.
Commenting on this, Andy Norton, director of threat intelligence at Lastline said:
“The losses attributed to cybercrime equate to the Gross Domestic Product Contribution of both California and New York. Nation State attacks no longer solely focus on the theft of intellectual property, now they also focus on the loss of operational capability, the theft of Personally Identifiable information and the influence of public opinion. All of these things impact the strength and trust in an economy, a weakened economy promotes isolationism which in turn erodes international alliances. The thousands of seemingly unrelated attacks form a mosaic that spells cyberwar, which we have not woken up to yet.”