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Cyberattacks: Europe increasingly targeted in 2022, according to IBM

As stated in the last X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, the service industry and financial sector were the most targeted in Europe

Cyber risks - March 06, 2023

On February 22, 2023, IBM published the 2023 edition of its X-Force Threat Intelligence Index. This report paints a cyberthreat landscape, following analysis of X-Force teams operations in 2022.

It shows Europe accounted for 28% of cyberattacks worldwide, a ratio that rose significantly (24% in 2021), without reaching its 2020 peak (31%). This made it the second most hit region in the world, after Asia. The most targeted countries were France, the UK, Italy and Germany, and, more surprisingly, Portugal.

Thirty eight percent of European attacks observed by X-Force aimed to extort funds, in particular through ransomware. Seventeen percent attempted to steal data and 14%, to harvest login details. IBM also noted a sharp spike in backdoor use in Europe starting from March, 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In terms of contamination factors, the use of public apps is clearly in the lead, with 32% of incidents. Local account hacks come in second (18%). Surprisingly, spear phishing, which uses social engineering techniques, dropped significantly.

It only involved 14% of cyber incidents in Europe in 2022, against 42% in 2021. IBM attributes this decrease to “better user awareness, strengthening of email security, and better detection of malware following installation.”

The most affected sectors in Europe were:

  • the service industry (25% of cyberattacks);
  • finance and insurance (also 25%);
  • manufacturing (12%);
  • energy (10%);
  • health (10%).
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