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Hackers are increasingly using indirect routes to attack companies, spreading malware through IT supply chains and ecommerce platforms. New cryptocurrency investors, too, have become a target, according to the FT's latest Special Report on Cyber security.
Those indirect attacks can come through the supply chain - through cloud service providers or other managed IT companies. Symantec, the cyber security company, says in a recent report it saw a 200 per cent increase in supply chain attacks in 2017 compared with the previous year. National governments are increasingly concerned about the trend.
"One of the slow burning, strategic issues is the integrity of the supply chain and how corporations and government departments manage that risk," says Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ. “I think collectively we have been slower than we should have been to realise the importance of that.”
Another growing attack target is the crowd of new cryptocurrency investors. As crypto exchanges increase their levels of security, criminals are looking for ways to defraud cryptocurrency users directly, tricking them into giving away the details of of their digital wallets.
“The types of people who are starting to use and buy bitcoin are much less technically sophisticated now, and so are much more prone to phishing attacks,“ says Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic, a London-based company that tracks and tries to prevent criminal activity in cryptocurrencies. Elliptic has seen a fivefold increase in phishing attacks since the start of the year.
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg also writes a column on cyber security:
"I am often asked how significant a cyber attack would need to be to trigger an Article 5 response. My answer is: we will see. The principles of deterrence dictate that this must remain deliberately vague or we risk inviting attacks at a level immediately below that threshold."
Read the full cyber security report here.
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