Cybersecurity: military, data, smart devices

The Dutch authorities reported that in 2023, hackers supported by the Chinese government infiltrated their military network. Cyber spies place malware in the armed forces’ network, which is used, among others, for classified research. The attack occurred in the atmosphere of a dispute between the Netherlands and China, including because of the Dutch ASML – the only company in the world producing lithography machines needed for the production of semiconductors, enforcing the US ban on the export of technologically advanced machines to China.

According to researchers from Cornell University, the frequency of cyberattacks on scientific institutions has increased since 2015. In their opinion, research and educational data are the “main target of criminals”, and the most common form of attack is blocking access to the system or data until a ransom is paid. According to a survey by IBM, only 40% of organisations require system users to verify their identity using multi-factor authentication regularly.

Researchers warn that even toothbrushes may be tools for a mass cyber attack. Although this is only a hypothetical scenario, smart devices connected to the Internet can be connected to a so-called botnet, enabling distributed attacks that overload websites and servers with high Internet traffic. “Any device connected to the Internet is a potential target or can be used for an attack,” says Stefan Züger, director of systems technology at Swiss company Fortinet.

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