Italy in the sights of hackers: awareness is growing but that’s not enough

L'Italia nel mirino degli hacker: cresce la consapevolezza ma non basta thumbnail

Italy is one of the countries most at risk for hacker attacks, awareness of the public and institutions is growing but it is not enough. To say it are the data that emerge from the Clusit report for 2023 presented to the press and preceding the Security Summit in Milan which will begin on March 14th. According to the report, 2022 was the worst year ever for cyber security globally. There were 440 more attacks than in 2021, which mark an annual growth of 21%,

In this scenario, even Italy appears to be targeted by criminals. In fact, in 2022, 7.6% of global attacks were successful in our country against 3.4% in 2021. Let’s find out more!

The Clusit 2023 report on cyber security

In the last five years there has been a substantial change in the global levels of cyber-insecurity worldwide which unfortunately has not been matched by an adequate increase in countermeasures. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has also added to a constantly growing cybercrime context which has given way to offensive cybernetic capabilities used by the contenders. According to Clusit, the proportion of attacks aimed at degrading, denying or destroying digital systems and infrastructures is set to increase rapidly.

Gabriel Faggiolipresident of Clusit

Gabriel Faggioli, president of Clusit, in fact stated that: “A further evolution is needed in the approach to cybersecurity. It is necessary not only that the regulatory driver remain, but that business risk assessment and management processes are implemented at all levels, aimed at adequately calibrating investments on the basis of real needs […] We hope that institutional initiatives in Italy will also be supported by individual companies and public administrations, with a view to public-private collaboration, through the establishment and evolution of adequate processes for monitoring safety, incident management, crisis management, and services SOC, among others“

The Italian situation

Italia Global annual growth

Unfortunately, Italy is moving in line with the global trend. In 2022, attacks have increased in both number and severity reaching critical or high impact in 80% of cases. The analysis of known cyber incidents in 2022 shows a clear prevalence of attacks aimed at cybercrimewhich were over 2,000 globally, i.e. the82% of the totalgrowing by 15% compared to 2021. For Italy the percentage rises to 93%, up 150% compared to 2021. Even attacks attributable to the activities of espionage and sabotage (11% of the total), ad information warfare (4% of the total) and ad activism actions (3% of the total) have reached their all-time highs worldwide.

In addition to all this, as anticipated, is the conflict between Russia and Ukraine which has favored a growth of Information Warfare of the 110% e Hacktivism of the 320%. In Italy, on the other hand, 7% of incidents were classified as “activism”, while no significant attacks were detected in the “Espionage / Sabotage” or “Information Warfare” categories.

Regarding that Sophia Scozzari, member of the Clusit Steering Committee, one of the authors of the Report, tends to clarify: “Analyzing the data of the attackers, however, we must also consider that governments may have perpetrated their attacks in ways attributable to other actors, obviously without publicly claiming their operations. As for hacktivism, today many campaigns aimed at affecting the reputation of organizations are much more effective on social networks than with defacement or similar techniques”.

Techniques of hacker attacks and victims in Italy and in the world

Worldwide, the main victims are once again i Multiple Targets (22%), an increase of 97% compared to 2021. It results in Attack campaigns that are not targeted, without a specific objective. Follows the government and public administration sector (12%) and then to Healthcare, with values ​​in percentage growth of 16% compared to 2021, 11% tocomputer industry and 8% al school and university sector. Attacks on sectors have grown as a percentage insurance finance (+40%) e Manufacturingdoubled since 2018 .

Even the victims in the industry News e Multimedia, after a drastic drop in 2018, they were the protagonists of a doubling. A component of this increase is undoubtedly attributable to the conflict in Ukraine, in the context of disinformation, propaganda and media disruption activities considered enemies. In Italy, the most affected sector is that governmentalwith the 20% of the attacks, followed by the sector manufacturing (19%). The “Multiple Targets” (+900%).

As far as attacking techniques are concerned, the malware it still represents the main weapon with which 37% of global attacks are carried out. They follow vulnerability (12%, excluding the component of attacks based on the so-called “0-day”), phishing e social engineering (12%), up by 52% on the total compared to last year, as the DDoS attacks (4%), which mark an annual percentage change of +258% e multiple techniques (+72% the annual percentage change), by virtue of the more complex nature of the attacks.

The Clusit report on hacker attacks in Italy together with Fastweb

Once again this year Fastweb contributed to the Clusit Report by analyzing the main trends thanks to the processing of data from its Security Operation Center (SOC) active 24 hours a day and from its IT security competence centres. From the analysis of Fastweb’s network infrastructure, made up of over 6.5 million public IP addresses, on each of which hundreds of devices and servers can communicate, over 56 million security events were recorded, an increase of 25 % compared to the events detected in the 2021 Report.

We continue to observe a progressive awareness on the part of companies with respect to IT risks: in fact, despite the intensification of security events and the high diversification of attack techniques, in 2022 the detections with respect to the harmful effects of these events remained almost unchanged.

The Milan Security Summit

security summit milano

The Clusit 2022 Report will be presented to the public on March 14that the opening of Security Summit, the most important Italian conference on cybersecurity, organized by Clusit – Italian Association for IT Security – with Astrea, a Communication and Events Agency specialized in the IT Security sector.

The Security Summit takes place in Milan from 14 to 16 March 2023.