Trickle-down of nation state tools and techniques expected to increase effectiveness of cyber attacks

Published: Tuesday, 24 August 2021 08:43

HP Wolf Security has released the findings of a global survey of 1,100 IT decision makers (ITDMs), examining their concerns around rising Nation State cyber attacks. 72 percent of respondents said they worry that Nation State tools and techniques tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) could filter through to the dark net and be used to attack their business. According to HP, such concerns are well-founded. In recent months, evidence has emerged that techniques deployed in the SolarWinds supply chain attack have already been adopted by ransomware gangs – a trend likely to continue. 

“Tools developed by nation states have made their way onto the black market many times. An infamous example being the Eternal Blue exploit, which was used by the WannaCry hackers,” comments Ian Pratt, Global Head of Security, Personal Systems, HP Inc. “Now, the return on investment is strong enough to enable cybercriminal gangs to increase their level of sophistication so that they can start mimicking some of the techniques deployed by Nation States too. The recent software supply chain attack launched against Kaseya customers by a ransomware gang is a good example of this.”

“Now that a blueprint has been created for monetising such attacks, they are likely to become more widespread. Previously, an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) with a modest-sized customer base that didn't supply government or large enterprises may have been unlikely to become targeted as a stepping-stone in a supply chain attack. Now, ISVs of all types are very much in scope for attacks that will result in compromised software and services being used to attack their customers.”

Beyond the risk from cybercriminals, the survey found more than half (58 percent) of ITDMs are worried their business could become a direct target of a nation state attack. A further 70 percent believed they could end up being ‘collateral damage’ in a cyber war. When discussing specific concerns relating to a nation state cyber attack, sabotage of IT systems or data was the main worry, shared by almost half of respondents (49 percent).

Other concerns included:

About the research

The study is based on a Toluna survey of 1,100 IT decision makers in the UK, the US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Australia, and Japan. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th March - 6th April 2021. The survey was carried out online.

More details.