According to the EU cybersecurity agency ENISA’s annual report released on Wednesday, hackers-for-hire have emerged as the biggest threat to online security in the last 15 months, with the COVID-19 pandemic and home working providing opportunities for cybercriminals.
The study, which lasted from April 2020 to July 2021, aimed to help governments and businesses better understand cybersecurity threats and develop techniques to combat them.
In recent months, high-profile ransomware attacks have included against the Colonial Pipeline in May, which caused fuel disruptions in the eastern United States, and another involving JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacker.
The report said “The COVID-19 crisis has created possibilities for adversaries who used the pandemic as a dominant lure in campaigns for email attacks for instance. Monetisation appears to be the main driver of such activities,”
According to the study, the health sector was a major target, particularly between May and July this year, as hackers looked for vaccine information.
A substantial number of cyber incidents were also reported by public administration, government, and digital service providers. Hackers preferred to be compensated in cryptocurrencies.
Cryptojacking, in which a criminal uses a victim’s computing power to generate cryptocurrency, reached a new high in the first quarter of this year, and misinformation and disinformation are among the other major cyber threats mentioned in the report.