Which countries and industries are suffering the worst cyber attacks?

Research reveals the most cyber insecure countries in the world and the type of cybercrimes they are facing.

Digital Binary Code on Dark Red BG with World Map

As organisations continue their journey of rapid digitisation and modernisation, their threat surface grows and criminals are exploiting vulnerabilities. Research from CyberRes examines the current global state of cyberattacks and more specifically, which countries and industries faced the worst cyber attacks over the last year. The report also provides an overview of the geopolitical, regional, and industry-level threat conditions.

Globally, over 19% of cyberattacks were in the form of ransomware. The most popular methods that were leveraged included malware deployment, spear phishing, social engineering, and distributed denial of service (DDoS).

Top countries impacted by cyber security events

  1. United Sates
  2. Australia
  3. Canada
  4. Iran
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Germany
  7. Israel
  8. China
  9. Brazil
  10. Japan

United Sates and Canada made the top of the list of most impacted countries. Data suggests North America is the most impacted region, experiencing 33.5% of the total cyber issues reported, followed by Asia-Pacific at 23.5% and Europe at 20%.

Infographic highlighting top 5 countries impacted by cyberattacks: USA, Australia, Canada, Iran, UK IDG Connect

The most noteworthy events for the North American region included the Colonial Pipeline attack, the SolarWinds Orion supply chain attacks, the Accellion FTA supply chain attack, the Kaseya supply chain (REvil), and the Sol Oriens ransomware attack (REvil).

Almost 69% of the cyberattacks in North America were motivated by financial gain, and it is expected to fuel even more growth of ransomware attacks in the region. As cryptocurrencies become more popular and fintech companies continue to disrupt the industry, they will face more targeted attacks.  

Taking the second spot was Australia with 9.87% of global cyber issues reported, and more than half (57%) of cyberattacks that occurred in the region were ransomware attacks, followed by data exfiltration (5.6%) and network access (5.6%).

More specifically, one of the major sectors impacted in the Oceania region were their telecommunication and technology sectors, facing a total of 35.7% of cyberattacks. Telecommunication infrastructure underpins nearly all critical infrastructure and essential services, including energy, finance, healthcare, technology, and government agencies. There were added threats with the rollout of 5G connectivity in Australia and New Zealand.

And while every region faced its own set of challenges with cyber attacks, there has also been significant disruption across several industries. Each attack triggered by different motivations and circumstances.  

Top industries impacted globally

  1. Services
  2. Public Sector
  3. Finance
  4. Retail
  5. Healthcare
  6. Transportation
  7. Construction
  8. Energy
  9. Manufacturing
  10. Defence

Data highlights that the services sector was most targeted globally, with 33.7% of cyberattacks, followed by the public sector 21.4%.

The service sector includes a diverse range of critical infrastructures. Almost 62.5% of cyberattacks within the services sector were targeting the telecommunications and technology sector. Internet service providers and cloud services providers also faced frequent attacks – likely because of the large amounts of sensitive information they hold. Countries whose service sector faced repeated cyberattacks included the US, Australia, Canada, UK, Brazil, China, Germany, and Japan.

The public sector was the second-most targeted industry worldwide, and the pandemic has only fuelled cyber incidents targeting government agencies. The most impacted nations included Canada, USA, Russia, Germany, Turkey, Iran, Australia, United Arab Emirates, North Korea, Israel, and many more. Threat actors targeted agencies that held sensitive data about citizens, including social care and passport information. And the high success rate of these cyberattacks were due to the reliance on the data security of outdated computer systems. Making it easier for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities.

Infographic for top 4 industries impacted cyberattacks: Services, Public Sector, Finance, Retail IDG Connect

But more significantly was the drastic growth in cyberattacks targeting the financial sector, which was more than 200%. Most of the attacks were aimed at the United Sates (32%), followed by Australia (13.4%). Due to the pandemic, financial institutions accelerated their digital transformation journeys in significant areas with increased digitisation, person-to-person (P2P) payments, cloud computing, and blockchain technology. Financial organisations also hold sensitive and personal consumer data, making them attractive targets to threat actors.