Tag Archives: security assessments

Analyzing the Rise of State Sponsored Cyber Attacks

Explore the global impact of state-sponsored cyber attacks through a detailed timeline of significant incidents since January 2023.

A Timeline & Global Impact of State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks: 

State-sponsored cyber attacks have become an increasingly prevalent threat in recent years. These attacks are often carried out by nation-states seeking to gain an advantage over their geopolitical rivals, whether by stealing sensitive information or disrupting critical infrastructure. Analyzing the rise of state-sponsored cyber attacks is a complex task that requires a deep understanding of the geopolitical landscape and the motivations of nation-states.

 It is important for governments and private organizations alike to invest in cybersecurity measures that can mitigate the risk of state-sponsored cyber attacks. This includes measures such as network segmentation, access controls, and regular security assessments.

Analyzing the Escalation of State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks:

The increasing prevalence of such attacks can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the rapid digitization of essential infrastructure has amplified its susceptibility to cyber intrusions. Secondly, the emergence of sophisticated hacking collectives backed by nation-states has facilitated large-scale cyber offensive operations. Thirdly, the inherent anonymity of cyberspace impedes accountability, allowing malicious actors to operate with relative impunity. With actors increasingly targeting critical infrastructures, this has led to a doubling of such attacks over the past two years, costing organizations an estimated $1.6 million per incident. The threat landscape is evolving, particularly with the integration of cyber warfare in geopolitical conflicts like the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Nation-state actors are well-funded and highly skilled, primarily targeting government, military, think tanks, universities, and critical infrastructure providers. The impact of state-sponsored cyber attacks extends even further, hitting various sectors, such as healthcare, telecommunications, and defense, causing financial losses and intellectual property theft. These attacks have also blurred the lines between APTs and cybercrime, with state-backed groups engaging in cybercriminal activities for profit.

Below I’ve outlined a timeline of notable significant cyber incidents that have unfolded since January 2023, focusing on assaults targeting government bodies, defense organizations, high-tech enterprises, and economic crimes resulting in losses exceeding a million dollars. In this rapidly evolving landscape of cyber warfare and data breaches, this timeline provides a glimpse into the persistent and evolving threats that shape the world we live in today. If you’re interested in reading all of these events since 2006, read on here.



Timeline of Significant Cyber Incidents in 2023:

  • January 2023:

    • CISA, the NSA, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center release a joint advisory warning of an increase in hacks on the federal civilian executive branch utilizing remote access software.

    • Russia-linked hackers deploy a ransomware attack against the UK postal service, the Royal Mail.

    • Iran-linked hackers execute ransomware attacks and exfiltrate data from U.S. public infrastructure and private Australian organizations.

    • Hackers use ransomware to encrypt 12 servers at Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Works.

    • Albanian officials report that its government servers were still near-daily targets of cyber-attacks after a major attack linked to Iranian hackers in 2022.

    • Hackers targeted Asia Pacific networks, using malware to access confidential data and captured audio from victim machines.

    • Malevolent actors distributed over a thousand emails with harmful links to government accounts in Moldova.

  • February 2023:

    • A pro-Russian hacker group claimed a DDoS attack on NATO networks, disrupting communications with earthquake relief airplanes at a Turkish airbase and temporarily disabling NATO’s sites.

    • North Korean hacking group conducted a covert espionage campaign between August and November 2022. They targeted various sectors, exfiltrating 100MB+ of data from each victim without detection. This group is linked to the North Korean government.

    • Latvian officials claim that Russian hackers launched a phishing campaign against its Ministry of Defense.

    • Iranian hacktivists claim responsibility for taking down websites for the Bahrain international airport and state news agency.

    • In a ransomware attack on Technion University, Israel’s leading technology education program, hackers demanded 80 bitcoin (equivalent to $1.7 million USD) to decrypt the university’s files. Israeli cybersecurity authorities attributed the attack to Iranian state-sponsored hackers.

    • Hackers disabled Italy’s Revenue Agency website and sent phishing emails to users, leading them to a fake login page resembling the official site.

    • Chinese cyberespionage hackers perform a spear-phishing campaign against government and public sector organizations in Asia and Europe. The emails

  • March 2023:

    • Russian hackers bring down the French National Assembly’s website using a DDoS attack.

    • CISA and FBI revealed that a U.S. federal agency was subjected to a cyberespionage campaign between November 2022 and January 2023. The hackers exploited a vulnerability in the agency’s Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) server to implant malware.

    • South Asian hacking group targets firms in China’s nuclear energy industry.

    • North Korean hackers target U.S.-based cybersecurity research firms.

    • Chinese cyber espionage group targets government entities in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.

    • Russian hackers launch social engineering campaigns targeting U.S. and European politicians, businesspeople, and celebrities.

    • Slovakian cybersecurity researchers discover a new exploit from a Chinese espionage group targeting political organizations in Taiwan and Ukraine.

    • Poland blames Russian hackers for a DDoS attack on its official tax service website.

  • April 2023:

    • Sudan-linked hackers conduct a DDoS attack on Israel’s Independence Day.

    • NSA cyber authorities report evidence of Russian ransomware and supply chain attacks against Ukraine and other European countries.

    • Iranian state-linked hackers target critical infrastructure in the U.S. and other countries.

    • Recorded Future releases a report revealing data exfiltration attacks against South Korean research and academic institutions.

    • Chinese hackers target telecommunication services providers in Africa.

    • Russia-linked threat group launches a DDoS attack against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    • North Korea-linked hackers shift focus to espionage targeting defense industry firms in Eastern Europe and Africa.

    • Ukraine-linked hacktivists target the email of Russian GRU Unit26165’s leader.

  • May 2023:

    • Belgium’s cyber security agency links China-sponsored hackers to a spearfishing attack on a prominent politician.

    • Chinese hackers breach communications networks at a U.S. outpost in Guam.

    • Chinese hackers target Kenyan government ministries and state institutions.

    • Russia-linked hackers target government organizations in Central Asia.

    • Unidentified group hacks targets in both Russia and Ukraine for surveillance and data gathering.

  • June 2023:

    • Alleged group tied to private military corporation Wagner hacks a Russian satellite telecommunications provider.

    • Pakistani-based hacker group infiltrates the Indian army and education sector.

    • Pro-Russian hacktivists attack European banking institutions, including the European Investment Bank.

    • U.S. federal government agencies, including Department of Energy entities, breached in a global cyberattack by Russian-linked hackers.

    • Illinois hospital closes due to a ransomware attack.

    • Pro-Russian hackers target Swiss government websites, including those for Parliament and the federal administration.

    • North Korean hackers impersonate tech workers to steal funds for ballistic missiles program.

    • Ukrainian hackers attack a Russian telecom firm providing critical infrastructure to the Russian banking system.

    • Russia’s Federal Security Services allege Apple worked with US intelligence agencies to hack iPhones belonging to Russian users and foreign diplomats.

  • July 2023:

    • China claims an earthquake monitoring system in Wuhan was hacked by U.S. cybercriminals.

    • Kenyan eCitizen service disrupted by pro-Russian cybercriminals.

    • Russian-linked hackers target Ukrainian state services like the app “Diia.”

    • DDoS attack on the Ministry of Justice in Trinidad and Tobago disrupts court operations.

    • New Zealand’s parliament hit by a cyberattack from a Russian hacking group.

    • Russian hackers target twelve government ministries in Norway to gain access to sensitive information.

    • A South Korean government-affiliated institution falls victim to a phishing scandal.

    • Chinese-linked hackers infect a Pakistani government app with malware.

    • Chinese hackers breach emails of several prominent U.S. government employees.

    • Russian hackers target attendees of the latest NATO Summit in Vilnius.

    • Polish diplomat’s advertisement corrupted by Russian hackers to target Ukrainian diplomats.

  • August 2023:

    • Russian hacktivists launch DDoS attacks on Czech banks and the stock exchange, demanding they stop supporting Ukraine.

    • Unnamed hackers take down X (formerly Twitter) in several countries, demanding Starlink be opened in Sudan.

    • Cybercriminals sell a stolen dataset from China’s Ministry of State Security, compromising personal information for half a billion Chinese citizens.

    • Russian hacktivists launch DDoS attacks on Polish government websites, the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and Polish national banks.

    • Russian hackers disable Poland’s rail systems and transmit propaganda during the attack.

    • Chinese hackers target a U.S. military procurement system and Taiwan-based organizations.

    • Ukrainian hackers breach a senior Russian politician’s email and leak sensitive documents connecting him to illegal activities.

    • Ecuador’s national election agency faces cyberattacks during the latest election.

    • Suspected North Korean hackers attempt to compromise a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise.

    • Bangladesh shuts down central bank and election commission websites to prevent cyberattacks.

    • Belarusian hackers target foreign embassies with disguised malware.

    • Chinese hackers obtain personal and political emails of a U.S. Congressman.

    • Iranian cyber spies target dissidents in Germany using false digital personas and credential harvesting.

    • Ukrainian hackers uncover Russian attempts to deploy custom malware against Starlink satellites.

    • Russian hackers launch a ransomware attack against a Canadian government service provider.

    • Canadian politician targeted by a Chinese disinformation campaign on WeChat.

    • Canadian government accuses a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor of hacking a federal scientific research agency.

    • Russia’s military intelligence service attempts to hack Ukrainian Armed Forces’ combat information systems.

    • Russian hackers breach the UK’s Electoral Commission network.

    • North Korean hackers breach a Russian missile developer’s computer system.



The diverse array of targets, from critical infrastructures to government bodies, reveals a tumultuous digital landscape. To fortify our digital defenses against the onslaught of nation-state cyber activities, it is crucial that we advance technological innovation, foster international cooperation, and cultivate a culture of cybersecurity awareness.

How Security Assessments Help Prevent Breaches

Findings.co explores how security assessments can help prevent data breaches

Data breaches can cause significant damage to a business, both in terms of financial losses and damage to reputation. In recent years, the number of data breaches reported has increased dramatically, with cybercriminals using increasingly sophisticated methods to gain access to sensitive data. One of the most effective ways to prevent data breaches is by conducting regular security assessments.

A security assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of an organization’s security posture. It involves reviewing all aspects of the organization’s security, including policies, procedures, infrastructure, and personnel. The goal of a security assessment is to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses that could be exploited by an attacker. There are many types of security assessments, including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and risk assessments. Each of these assessments has its own unique methodology, but they all aim to achieve the same goal: to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in an organization’s security.

By conducting a security assessment, organizations can identify vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers. This allows the organization to take proactive steps to mitigate the risk of a data breach. For example, if a security assessment identifies that the organization’s password policies are weak, the organization can implement stronger policies to prevent unauthorized access.

Another benefit of conducting a security assessment is that it can help organizations comply with industry and regulatory requirements. Many industries have specific regulations that organizations must follow to protect sensitive data. By conducting a security assessment, organizations can ensure that they are meeting these requirements and avoid costly fines and legal action.

Additionally, conducting a security assessment can help organizations identify areas where they need to invest in additional security measures. For example, if a security assessment reveals that the organization’s network infrastructure is outdated, the organization can allocate resources to upgrade the infrastructure to better protect against attacks.

It’s important to note that conducting a security assessment is not a one-time event. Security threats and vulnerabilities are constantly evolving, and organizations must regularly review and update their security measures to stay ahead of attackers.

Why are Security Assessments Important?

Security assessments are essential for preventing data breaches because they help organizations identify vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers. By conducting a security assessment, organizations can take proactive steps to mitigate the risk of a data breach.

For example, a vulnerability assessment can identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s software or hardware systems. These vulnerabilities could be used by an attacker to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. By identifying these vulnerabilities, organizations can take steps to patch or fix them before an attacker can exploit them.

Similarly, a penetration test can simulate an attack on an organization’s systems to identify weaknesses that could be exploited by an attacker. By conducting a penetration test, organizations can identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their systems and take steps to improve their security.

Security assessments are also important for helping organizations comply with industry and regulatory requirements. Many industries have specific regulations that organizations must follow to protect sensitive data. By conducting a security assessment, organizations can ensure that they are meeting these requirements and avoid costly fines and legal action.

Examples of Security Assessments in Action:

Now that we’ve explored why security assessments are important, let’s take a look at some examples of how they’ve helped organizations prevent data breaches.breaches.

Example 1: Target Data Breach

In 2013, retail giant Target suffered a massive data breach that compromised the personal and financial information of millions of customers. The breach was caused by a vulnerability in Target’s payment system that was exploited by attackers.

Following the breach, Target conducted a security assessment to identify the root cause of the attack and prevent future breaches. The assessment identified a number of vulnerabilities in Target’s systems, including weaknesses in the company’s password policies and network segmentation.

Based on the findings of the assessment, Target implemented a number of security measures, including two-factor authentication for remote access, improved password policies, and increased network segmentation. These measures helped to prevent future data breaches at Target.

Example 2: Equifax Data Breach

In 2017, credit reporting agency Equifax suffered a data breach that exposed the personal and financial information of over 140 million customers. The breach was caused by a vulnerability in Equifax’s web application software that was exploited by attackers.

Following the breach, Equifax conducted a security assessment to identify the root cause of the attack and prevent future breaches. The assessment identified a number of vulnerabilities in Equifax’s systems, including weaknesses in the company’s patch management processes and web application security.

Based on the findings of the assessment, Equifax implemented a number of security measures, including improved patch management processes, enhanced web application security, and increased employee training on cybersecurity best practices. These measures helped to prevent future data breaches at Equifax.

Example 3: University of Virginia Data Breach

In 2014, the University of Virginia suffered a data breach that exposed the personal and financial information of over 18,000 current and former employees. The breach was caused by a vulnerability in the university’s payroll system that was exploited by attackers.

Following the breach, the university conducted a security assessment to identify the root cause of the attack and prevent future breaches. The assessment identified a number of vulnerabilities in the university’s systems, including weaknesses in the company’s patch management processes, access controls, and network security.

Based on the findings of the assessment, the university implemented a number of security measures, including improved patch management processes, enhanced access controls, and increased network security. The university also provided additional cybersecurity training to its employees to help prevent future data breaches.

As we’ve seen in these examples, security assessments can be a powerful tool for preventing data breaches. By identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in an organization’s security posture, organizations can take proactive steps to mitigate the risk of a data breach. This can include implementing security measures such as two-factor authentication, improved password policies, enhanced patch management processes, and increased employee training on cybersecurity best practices.

In addition to preventing data breaches, security assessments can also help organizations comply with industry and regulatory requirements. By conducting a security assessment, organizations can ensure that they are meeting these requirements and avoid costly fines and legal action.

Ultimately, conducting regular security assessments is essential for any organization that wants to protect its sensitive data from cybercriminals. By taking proactive steps to identify and address vulnerabilities, organizations can help prevent data breaches and protect the privacy and security of their customers and employees.



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Why Security Assessments Are Essential

Findings discusses why security assessments are essential to your company

Security Assessments and Why They Are Essential

Security assessments are essential tools for businesses of all sizes.

They provide an important way to identify and address any vulnerabilities in networks, systems, and applications, to protect the business from potential cyber threats. This blog post will discuss the importance of security assessments and how businesses can incorporate them into their security strategy.

Why Are Security Assessments Important?

Security assessments are important for businesses because they objectively evaluate the security of their networks, systems, and applications.

They can identify potential security flaws, weak points, and risk areas and help businesses develop plans to address any vulnerabilities.

Additionally, security assessments help businesses understand the current security landscape and identify gaps in their security measures.

This can be an invaluable process for businesses, as it can help them determine any additional security measures that need to be implemented to ensure that their networks, systems, and applications remain safe and secure.

By reviewing and assessing current security measures, businesses can ensure that their policies and procedures are optimal for their organization and that their systems are as safe and secure as possible. It can also help evaluate the effectiveness of existing security measures

Types of Security Assessments

There are a variety of different types of security assessments.

Common types of assessments include penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and application security testing.

  1. Penetration testing is a process of attempting to exploit any vulnerabilities in a system to gain access and gain further access to the system.

  2. In contrast, vulnerability scanning is a process that identifies any potential security flaws or weaknesses in a system.

  3. Application security testing is a process of testing the security of an application by analyzing the system for any potential security flaws or weaknesses.

Security assessments can also be tailored to specific needs, such as cloud security assessments focusing on the security of cloud-based systems and applications.

Why do it?

Security assessments are essential for businesses of all sizes, large and small, as they are critical in identifying and remedying potential vulnerabilities in networks, systems, and applications.

By conducting such assessments, businesses can create a comprehensive security strategy to help them keep their systems secure and protected from potential cyber threats.

Furthermore, such assessments can also provide valuable insights into potential areas of improvement, allowing businesses to remain one step ahead of any potential security risks.

You Need Automation

By automating your assessments, you can save time and money that would otherwise be spent on manual data entry and analysis.

Automation also makes it easier to quickly assess large amounts of data, which is especially helpful when dealing with complex problems or large datasets.

With automated assessment, you can also ensure more accurate and reliable results, as the software eliminates the potential for human error. Additionally, automated assessment can provide valuable insights into the data that can be used to inform your decision-making.


With Findings, digitize your assessments with ZERO effort and automate your assessment response in seconds – learn more about how Findings can help here

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