Why State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks are a Global Threat

Why State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks are a Global Threat

State-sponsored cyber attacks can wreak havoc on a foreign country’s IT infrastructure and cause billions of dollars of damage. As a result, government agencies and other organizations are looking for cybersecurity professionals such as threat hunters, security architects, and intelligence analysts to overcome this ever-growing problem. Learn more about these cyber attacks and the damage they cause below. 

What Is a State-Sponsored Cyber Attack?

This type of event occurs when a government sponsors or carries out a cyber attack against another government or organization in a foreign country. State-sponsored attacks (SSAs) happen for various reasons:

  • To infiltrate computer systems and IT infrastructure 
  • To exploit governments and organizations for money
  • To gather intelligence

SSAs involve more resources than regular cyber attacks and can cause long-lasting damage to a foreign government or business. For example, cybercriminals can steal intellectual property and military intelligence from a government. Hackers can even penetrate critical infrastructure, such as electricity grids and water systems. 

An example of a SSA is the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, which impacted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. Hackers stole data from hundreds of thousands of businesses and demanded ransom payments in Bitcoin. The United States government publicly attributed the attack to North Korea

State-sponsored cyber attacks have become more widespread in recent years. For example, the Russian government has used this type of cyber warfare during its war with Ukraine. SSAs have impacted Ukrainian infrastructure and disrupted operations. 

As you can see, SSAs have the power to influence international politics. Many governments view these attacks as acts of war that impact relationships between countries. 

How to Fight Back Against SSAs

In 2018, The Council of Foreign Relations urged governments to cooperate when dealing with SSAs to protect critical infrastructure and the global economy. The organization’s recommendations included restarting negotiations about cyber issues between the US and Russia, the countries with the most advanced cyber powers. The Council of Foreign Relations also suggested starting discussions about a global cybercrime convention that included Russia and China, who were previously reluctant to address SSAs.

One problem is that it’s difficult to attribute SSAs to a foreign government. That’s because the hackers behind these attacks are highly sophisticated and often mislead governments to protect their anonymity. Even if two attacks look similar, it doesn’t mean they are from the same attacker. 

The Council of Foreign Relations says:

“Governments and the global technical community should develop improvements and updates to core internet protocols to make cyber incident attribution more effective on the technical level.”

Diplomacy is key here. More governments need to work together to fight back against state-sponsored attacks. However, that can be difficult if countries are wary of each other’s motives. It’s unlikely the problem of SSAs will go away any time soon.

Hiring the Right Staff to Counteract SSAs

Cybersecurity professionals with SSA experience are highly sought after by governments and organizations around the world. These professionals have the skills and knowledge to identify potential attacks, stop them from causing damage, and attribute a cyber attack to a nation-state or its agents. 

Some of the most in-demand jobs in this sector right now include:

Threat Hunters

These professionals analyze large amounts of data to “hunt” for cyber threats in computer networks. That involves combing through log data to look for security vulnerabilities, acting on the latest security intelligence, and scanning networks and other infrastructure.  

Security Architects

Security architects detect vulnerabilities like threat hunters. However, they also design systems that can prevent SSAs and other cyber attacks from happening.

Intelligence Analysts

Intelligence analysts take a proactive approach to cybersecurity by analyzing information that can prevent or mitigate a state-sponsored attack. These professionals often have experience in counterterrorism and financial crime. 

How to Hire the Right Cybersecurity Professionals 

Solving state-sponsored cyber attacks involves diplomacy and governments working together. However, the right cybersecurity professionals can prevent these events from happening and causing widespread damage to critical infrastructure and financial systems. 

MRINetwork is a recruiting firm that places cybersecurity professionals in your organization, helping you solve the problem of SSAs and other security events. The organization fills gaps in your workforce and removes the challenges of hiring and recruitment. 

Find an MRINetwork office near you today and connect with talent advisors who can help you find top talent in your industry.