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Why are government organizations favorite targets for cybercriminals?

by | Jul 18, 2023 | BLOG

The government segment was one of the most attacked by hackers in the last quarter of 2022. Learn more!

In recent years, malicious actors have demonstrated a propensity to attack government organizations, including through ransomware, although governments are not among the industries that typically pay ransom demands.

According to a survey carried out by Check Point, in the third quarter of 2022, the government sector was one of the most attacked by hackers, receiving around 1,564 attacks weekly, which is equivalent to an increase of 20% compared to the same period in 2021.

However, last year, only 32% of state and local governments paid a ransom to restore encrypted data, 10% less than in 2020. With that in mind, we prepared this article to clarify why attackers insist on having governments as one of their main targets. Here, you will see:

1. Why do hackers target government organizations?

2. What is the government’s role in cybersecurity?

3. Why should the national government of any country be aware of cyber targets?

4. What types of organizations do hackers most target?

5. What are the top 5 cyber threats to government organizations?

6. About senhasegura

7. Conclusion


Enjoy your reading!


1. Why Do Hackers Attack Government Organizations?

Government agencies handle a large amount of sensitive data, which includes information about citizens, and even sensitive data that puts national security at risk.

As you might expect, much of this information is sensitive and can be used by hackers to harm people and gain financially.

Added to this, governments have not invested in effective measures for data protection and have a large number of suppliers, which can also be targeted by cybercriminals, impacting the security of government agencies.

Finally, political, economic, or military interests motivate cyber warfare, which can be financed by enemy nations with the aim of preventing the execution of services offered to citizens and generating chaos in a country.


2. What is the government’s role in cybersecurity?

Governments have an obligation to promote cybersecurity in their countries. After all, without this investment, it is impossible for society to prosper.

Therefore, it is imperative to defend security at the national level through strategies that make it possible to combat risks faced by citizens, companies and government agencies.


3. Why should the national government of any country be aware of cyber targets?

As technology advances, the risks associated with cybercriminals have increased. Therefore, every day, governments face cyberattacks, which jeopardize the services they offer and allow attackers to appropriate sensitive information from citizens and government agencies themselves.

In contrast, investing in cybersecurity awareness allows governments to run their services without interruption, preventing cyberattacks from affecting their infrastructure and disrupting the lives of huge numbers of people. In addition, they must invest in the implementation of cybersecurity solutions, such as a Privileged Access Management (PAM) tool.

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4. What types of organizations do hackers most target?

According to research carried out by Check Point, which we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the most attacked segment in the third quarter of 2022 was education and research, with approximately 2,148 attacks per week, which is equivalent to an increase of 18% compared to to the same period of 2021.

However, when it comes to ransomware, the most targeted sector was healthcare, with attacks on 1 in 42 organizations, up 5% from Q3 2021.

Furthermore, the second most attacked sector was the government/military, with around 1,564 attacks per week, an increase of 20% compared to the same period of the previous year, as already mentioned.


5. What are the top 5 cyber threats to government organizations?

The top five cyber threats to government organizations are:

1. Social engineering attacks, including phishing.

2. Ransomware.

3. Mobile security attacks.

4. Threats related to remote work

5. Cloud-related security risks.


Learn more about each of these threats:


1. Social engineering attacks

In this type of cyberattack, malicious actors manipulate their victims into providing sensitive information, clicking on malicious links, or providing access to secure systems.

For this, they can contact you via email or phone and even use voice impersonation software to deceive people.


2. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that hackers use to encrypt data and block access to a system. They then demand a ransom payment to release access to the victim, who is also impacted by the disruption of their activities.


3. Mobile security attacks

Many people use the same mobile device for personal and professional purposes and are prone to downloading fake apps, which infect cell phones and computers with viruses and malwares, allowing hackers to gain access to their confidential data.


4. Threats related to remote work

After the covid-19 pandemic, many professionals started to work remotely, which offers more risks than the face-to-face modality. This is because these employees do not always use up-to-date routers against threats, prevent vulnerabilities in their own device or avoid connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks.


5. Cloud-related security risks

Cloud services are essential for companies and government institutions, especially in the home office context, providing practicality, productivity, and cost reduction. However, with organizations becoming increasingly dependent on this approach, new security holes are emerging that make it easier for malicious attackers to act.

Among the main risks related to cloud computing, malware injection, DDoS attacks, errors in configurations, APIs and internal threats stand out.


6. About senhasegura

We at senhasegura are committed to digital sovereignty, which we believe to be a right of citizens, institutions, and society as a whole. Therefore, our mission is to prevent data theft and trace the actions of administrators in networks, servers, databases, and a multitude of devices.

In addition, we support our clients to achieve compliance with auditing requirements and the most demanding standards, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, ISO 27001, HIPAA, PCI DSS.


7. Conclusion

In this article, we?ve shown you why hackers attack government agencies and what the main cyber threats faced by governments are, among other aspects related to this topic.

If you liked our content, share it with someone who is interested in the subject addressed.

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