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Short stories about cyber attack

Since 2015, nearly 1,000 cyber attacks have been recorded each year, compared to around 100 between 2005 and 2010 (source Data Privacy Clearing House). 

In France, they were multiplied by 4 in 2020, according to the Armed Forces Ministry. Cyber-attacks are increasing because now cyber-criminals no longer act alone but with the more or less open support of certain states for espionage or sabotage.

The attack on Estonia in 2007, attributed to Russian hackers, is considered the founding act of state sabotage. Amid heightened tension with Russia, Estonian government websites, banks and media have been blocked by a series of coordinated attacks. However, the most severe attacks concern Ukraine: election rigging in 2014, sabotage of civilian power plants in 2015 and 2016, Petrwrap ransomware to block infrastructure… In Ukraine, the Russian cyber threat is constant.

Another major attack, alas well known: interference in the US presidential campaign in 2016. The goal? Scare, delegitimize, demoralize, divide …

Chinese hackers prefer espionage. The first significant weapon, Operation Aurora in 2010, targeting Google in particular, was reportedly aimed at spying on dissidents such as Ai Weiwei. 

Another famous attack was the 2015 hack of the Office of Personnel Management, the human resources database of US government agencies. Over 21 million confidential personal data has been stolen, including 5.6 million fingerprints …

Finally, the attack on Equifax, the US credit agency: nearly 145 million personal credit data has been stolen.

Last but not least, the USA. In 2008, the cyber sabotage of Iran’s uranium enrichment plants – via the Stuxnet computer worm – was attributed to the United States, with assistance from Israel.

52020 or the SolarWinds trauma: hackers used updates to the Orion software from the American publisher SolarWinds – very widespread – to infiltrate the computer systems of large companies but especially institutions such as the American ministries of commerce, the ‘Energy, Justice, Health, Homeland Security and the Treasury, NASA and the FAA (Federal Aviation Agency). The investigation is still ongoing, but it is believed that state secrets and trade secrets may have been stolen. It took more than six months to discover this attack attributed to Russian hackers!

“In Cybersecurity, you are as strong as your weakest link”

The response: over $ 45 billion has been invested in cybersecurity companies over the past 15 years. More than a million cyber fighter positions are open worldwide, half of which are unfilled. In France, the Armed Forces Ministry recruits more than 1,000 cyber-combatants. With all these efforts, the average duration of an attack has been reduced: 56 days in 2019 compared to 146 days in 2015.

The height! It is not always necessary to imagine Machiavellian plans. Physical loss of material or documents, unintentional disclosures, carelessness and clumsiness cause more hacks than direct attacks by hackers.

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