Cyberattacks around the world have a less destructive profile and are based more on espionage operations since the start of the war in Ukraine and also as a result of the tightening of global geopolitics, points out a Microsoft report published this Thursday (5).
According to Microsoft’s Digital Defense Report (MDDR), cyber activities by states and private actors working for them have “neglected destructive attacks [destinados a danificar diretamente o alvo] voluminous a year ago, in favor of espionage campaigns”, which are much more difficult to understand.
Activists backed by Russia and Iran “increased their capabilities to collect” information, the document specifies, stating that “almost 50% of observed Russian attacks against Ukrainian networks occurred in the first six weeks of the war”, and then declined.
The American technology giant also highlighted the growing relationship between cyber operations and propaganda, with the aim of “manipulating global and national opinions to weaken the democratic institutions” of its adversaries, especially existing social gaps.
In this sense, the expansion of these Russian technological actions suggests that “every government […] or essential infrastructure of a country that provides political, military or humanitarian aid to Ukraine” could be attacked. About 48% of Russian attacks targeted Ukraine, and a third of them were aimed at member countries of NATO (Atlantic Treaty Organization North), such as the United States, United Kingdom and Poland.
On the other hand, Microsoft claims that “Chinese state-supported cyber activity around the South China Sea illustrates Beijing’s strategic objectives in the region and rising tensions with Taiwan.” But many of these operations “appear to be related to intelligence gathering objectives.”
The American company found that both Iran and North Korea “showed greater sophistication in their cyber operations, reducing differences” with the great powers in this field: China and Russia.
The MDDR also warns of growing coordination between countries and “hackactivists” in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, in addition to a proliferation of non-state actors across the planet, which it calls “cybermercenaries”.
“The massive growth of this market represents a real threat to democracy, global stability and online security”, completes the report.