Cyberattacks on governments saw a huge increase in the first few months of 2023

Cyberattacks against government agencies are spiking, new research from Surfshark has claimed.

In a recently published paper, the company analyzed 924 significant cyber-incidents that took place between 2006, and Q1 2023 (including the first three months of this year). The analysis has shown that in that time, at least 722 cyberattacks were targeting government agencies. 

However, before 2020, every year, government agencies would report 29 cyberattacks on average. After that, the number rose to a yearly average of 96. Almost half of the 924 significant incidents that were analyzed, happened in the last three years. Most of the time, the threat actors would start with social engineering, and end with malware or ransomware attacks. Sometimes, however, they would also engage in disinformation campaigns. 


Cyber-espionage campaigns are particularly worrisome, the report further suggests. Since 2006, 15% of all attacks against government firms were cyber-espionage campaign. Furthermore, of the 32 attacks that took place in Q1 this year, nine were cyber-espionage, which is almost what the entire 2022 had. 

Cyber-espionage campaigns are almost exclusively conducted by state-sponsored actors, the researchers further claim, suggesting that cyber-warfare between nation-states is escalating. The most recent case, noted by the CSIS, includes Russian hackers attacking the French National Assembly website. Furthermore, in March, a Vietnamese cyber-espionage group was among multiple threat actors that targeted a U.S. federal agency.

North Korean, Chinese, and Russian threat actors are some of the most active, highly–skilled groups currently in operation. Lazarus Group, for example, is a North Korean state-sponsored actor who’s known to be targeting cryptocurrency businesses in an attempt to siphon out money and fund the state’s military and government operations. 

The FBI claims Lazarus was behind one of the biggest crypto heists ever, when the group breached the Ronin Network and stole $620 million in various cryptocurrencies.

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