Surge in Cyber Incidents in the Czech Republic: Government Institutions Among Targets

 

The National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) has reported a concerning increase in cyber incidents in the Czech Republic during June this year. With 22 attacks recorded, including those targeting servers of government institutions, the month marked a rise above the average. While none of the incidents were classified as “significant,” the growing trend raises concerns about the country’s cybersecurity landscape.

In June, the majority of cases involved disruptions to service availability, accounting for nearly half of the incidents. DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service) were the most common form of cyber warfare employed during these attacks, predominantly targeting state administration institutions. In such attacks, numerous computers, often numbering in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, simultaneously access a specific server, overwhelming it and causing it to crash. As a result, the targeted website becomes unavailable to regular users.

The NCISA noted that these DDoS attacks have been ongoing since February and primarily focus on overwhelming DNS servers of institutions. However, unlike hacktivist campaigns, the perpetrators have not claimed responsibility for these attacks.

The data also highlighted an increase in ransomware attacks during the same period. Ransomware attacks encrypt data on the victim’s computer, rendering it inaccessible. The attackers then demand a ransom, often requiring several thousand crowns, to restore access to the encrypted data. Paying the ransom, however, does not guarantee data recovery, and users often remain unable to access their data even after payment. PLAY, a particular strain of ransomware, was found to be responsible for three out of the six ransomware incidents in June.

Given the rising threat of ransomware attacks, NCISA issued a warning in June about the increased risk. The warning included a list of critical vulnerabilities being exploited by ransomware actors in the Czech Republic and globally.

Throughout the year, the number of recorded cyber incidents has fluctuated “in waves.” While January saw an above-average number of 21 incidents, the number fell to 13 in February. March witnessed a record-breaking 28 incidents, while April returned to the average with 14. May experienced 19 recorded incidents, and June followed suit with 22.

As cyber threats continue to evolve and intensify, the Czech Republic faces an imperative to bolster its cybersecurity measures and protect critical infrastructure, government institutions, and businesses from potential cyberattacks. Heightened vigilance and proactive cybersecurity strategies are crucial to safeguarding the nation’s digital assets and preserving the trust of citizens and international partners in the country’s cyber resilience.

Article by Prague Forum

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