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Cyber warfare in the virtual world | ISSD
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Cyber warfare in the virtual world

By Blerim Abedini, ISSD- N. Macedonia

The website was invented in 1989. The first website that went live was in 1991. Today, there are more than 1.7 billion websites. It is difficult to get exact data from cyber’s crimes because some organizations and states are not reporting damage, and also are state-sponsored cyber attacks that operate with domestic and international banks. Experts are claiming that cyber-attacks are permanently raising by estimating the global average loss for current years to be around 100 billion $ annually. The developed states are taking protection measures by engaging security agencies to counter-attack breaches of employees in business companies, the public sector, state administration, department of defense, intellectual property, etc. Instead, the developing states are not spending enough money for protecting the company’s employees and other political and public sectors.

The year 2007– In April and May 2007, were cyber attacks on government and corporate sites in Estonia. There is no clear evidence for the origin of these attacks but unofficially is believed that Russia is staying behind these attacks. According to data, property damage was 108 million dollars.

The year 2008– The cyber attack launched from an infected flash drive in the Middle East penetrated secret US military computers. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), reported 5,488 tracked incidents of unauthorized access. Total losses from cyber attacks on businesses are estimated at 80 billion $.

The year 2009– The security agency McAfee, released a report for cybercrime which cost businesses up to $1 trillion globally, by losing intellectual property and expenditures for repairing the damage up to month days. Some other events are: the FBI’s IC3 received a total of 336,655 consumer complaints of fraud and scams, and the Botnets sent 85% of spam emails. Financial global loss is estimated to be 29 billion $.

The year 2010– According to a recent Norton Cybercrime Report, 431 million adults in 24 countries experienced some type of cybercrime. The United States’ total bill cost for cybercrime raised to $139 billion, and $388 billion in the global range. Compare to illegal drug trades, cybercrime costs more than the market for heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

The year 2011– In June, Citigroup announced that 360,000 users in the United States were exposed to attackers. Also, global payments(Master Card and Visa) were hit by attackers who stole around 1.5 million cards. In another case, in March 2011 South Korea was hit by a widespread DDoS attack. Also in February 2011, a criminal gang breached at least three payment processors by producing fake cards for withdrawing money by ATM in eighteen countries. Furthermore, a virus named Gauss was used to steal inside multiple Lebanese banks where the United States accused a particular Lebanese bank of laundering money for a Mexican drug ring with links to Hezbollah. In another case, Kaspersky reports that the number of browser-based attacks they detected increased to 946,393,693 in 2011 which difference is up to 580,371,937 from the previous year. The global financial loss was 485 billion$.

The year 2012– In this year are registered targets for the nation’s critical infrastructure — particularly the United States. Also are recorded web-based attacks between the previous year, from 946,393,693 to 1,595,587,670 in 2012, which is reported by Kaspersky Labs. The event of cyber fighters of ‘Izz ad-Din al-Qassam have launched several DDoS attacks against U.S. financial institutions by attempting to execute high-value transactions worth between €60 million and €2 billion by using tools such as Trojan spyware. In this case, the U.S. authorities indicted two men about SpyEye Trojan. The global average losses were 28 billion $.

The year 2013– According to Kaspersky Lab, cyber-criminals were trying to access the online accounts of users by involving financial malware which increased to 28.4 million records or 27.6%, more than the prior year. Programs for stealing include banking Trojans, keyloggers, new classes of malware for Bitcoin wallets, and false producing of the crypto-currencies. The most attacked states this year were Russia at 37%, the US at 7%, India at 5%, Vietnam at 4.7%, Germany at 3%, Italy at 2.9%, Turkey at 2.55%, and the rest of the states obtain 37%. So, in 2013 are affected 800 million people worldwide with a total of $150 billion loss. Vietnam 4.7%, Germany 3%, Italy 2.9%, Turkey 2.55%, and the rest of the states obtain 37%. So, in 2013 are affected 800 million people worldwide with a total of $150 billion loss.

The year 2014– The data breaches in this year were broad and deep. The software maker- Adobe was hit with 152 million records. Also online marketplace eBay was attacked again with 145 million records, and the bank, and financial services firm- JP Morgan Chase had 76 million breached records. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in partnership with McAfee, reported that global losses in 2014 were $445 billion.

The year 2015– Some of the events were: the cyber attackers stole $16 million from a Guatemalan financial institution. Also, hackers as part of the Armada Collective threatened to disable systems at three Greek banks unless they paid a bitcoin ransom. Another case was when a teenager made DDoS attacks against Nordea and Swedbank while websites were blocked for a few hours. Furthermore, 80 million customers were stolen from Anthem, a U.S. healthcare insurer that was attacked by the Metel banking Trojan that has stolen bank’s ATMs and manipulated the Russian exchange rate. Also, the US networking informed that cyber attackers stole $46.7 million within business emails by transferring money to bank accounts controlled by the attackers or state-co-sponsored banks. Total global damage by cyber activity is estimated at around 100 billion $.

The year 2016– With a loss of more than 20% from the previous year. If we look by categories then 22% of breached organizations lost customers, 29% lost revenue, and 23% lost business opportunities. One of them, the WannaCry ransomware infected 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries by disrupting factories, hospitals, shops, and schools. This Ransomware encrypts data on infected devices and asks users to pay ransoms for getting their electronic keys for backup. Also in 2016 were stolen millions of passwords of Yahoo users, Linkedin, etc. Global damage is approximately 125 billion $.

The year 2017– Credit reporting agency Equifax has shown breaches of data on more than 800 million consumers and 88 million businesses worldwide. In this case, WannaCry is similar to many ransomware attacks, i.e. it encrypted files and demands a Bitcoin payment to decrypt them. In this way, they infected 300,000 computer systems within four days. Also, there is a case with stolen NSA cyber protections, another case with Yahoo where are affected 3 billion of its customer’s accounts from 2013-2017. The global damage approximately is 150 billion $.

The year 2018– Two million cyber incidents with cryptocurrency have been done by crypto-jacking, which tripled its activity in 2018. There are also financial losses of employees who sent funds or gift cards to cyber attackers, another attack by Magecart infected the payment forms on 6,400 e-commerce. Attacked organizations are banks, utilities, software, automotive, insurance, high tech, capital markets, energy, consumer goods, health, retail, life science, media, travel, and the public sector. Global losses approximately are 300 billion $.

In the year 2019– The attacks are increasing. Attackers were using various tools to capture data and evade detection, with Remote Access Trojans (RATs) to hide threats in encrypted traffic. About 540 million records of Facebook users were compromised and were published on Amazon’s cloud computing service. In Mexico City, the digital platform Cultura Colectiva stored 540 million records of Facebook users, including identification numbers, account names, comments, and reactions. The records also were able for downloaded on the internet. Also, another case with Capital One data where are hacked 140,000 social security numbers and 80,000 bank accounts of U.S. Customers. Furthermore, 1 million Social Insurance Numbers (SINs) of Canadian credit card customers are hacked. However, security companies are doing their job by protecting and repairing incidents that can remain month days. Global loss is raising every year and the approximate damage for 2019 is 600 billion $.

This overview of cyberattacks makes it clear to us that the countries that have been attacked are the most attacked due to the amount of money that circulates in the virtual market. Western civilization also uses the Internet more often as a means of payment or money transfers. We must be clear that the regimes of some countries support cyber hackers because they can hold a large amount of money or cryptocurrencies and breach data from the defense departments. Therefore, dictatorial states deform the Internet chain in the world, which is the result of corruption in a totalitarian state. However, cyber hackers can act individually without the influence of the state, as happens in the USA (the biggest hacker in the world imprisoned many times), Europe, and other developed countries.


Kuri_Eestis_2008.indd (kriminaalpoliitika.ee), www.securitymagazine.com, www.nbcnews.com, www.bbc.com, www.cnet.com, www.sectigostore.com, www.carnegieendowment.org, www.reuters.com, www.csoonline.com, www.csis.org, www.financialexpress.com, www.helpnetsecurity.com, www.logsign.com, www.techtarget.com

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