Russian Hackers Among World’s Best, EU Security Agency Says

The EU’s cyber defense agency, Enisa, has released its annual report, which warns that cyber-criminals have now become the biggest main “threat agent”, and that they are “responsible for at least two-thirds of the incidents registered”.

In the report, Chinese and Russian hackers were singled out as the best in the world, posing a serious danger to economies and political establishments globally, EUobserver reported.

“Understanding the key cybersecurity threats that the EU must respond to and the way in which they are evolving is essential if we are to successfully protect the cyberspace, the key enabler of the EU digital single market,” Mariya Gabriel, the EU commissioner for the digital economy, said.

The EU report said China was “the top attacking country” on denial of service attacks, which paralyze target systems by flooding them with data. It said 60 percent of all such attacks came from “China’s army of hackers” and that 90 percent of them targeted U.S. entities.

It was highlighted throughout the report that China, India, and Russia were the most “botnet infected countries” with the highest number of cases of fake accounts being used to send spam emails containing malware. An estimated 60% of hacking incidents originate in China, where “exploit kits” and botnet hordes can be hired from sites. Some of which “include dashboards showing the number of attacks carried out and the number of online bots.”

Phishing aimed at CEO’s of larges businesses was the biggest reported threat, being “responsible for 90 to 95 percent of successful attacks worldwide”. The Greece-based EU agency has warned CEO’s to be wary of the risks, especially when opening emails with high risk subject lines like ‘Official Data Breach Notification’, ‘UPS Label Delivery’, ‘IT Reminder: Your Password Expires’, ‘Please Read Important from Human Resources’, and ‘All Employees: Update your Healthcare Info’. These were the most commonly used titles used in fake emails that are designed to install malware on computers.

Russian hackers were in the international focus in 2016 when the United States Intelligence Community concluded with high confidence that the Russian Government directed hacking of U.S. officials’ e-mails with the intention of interfering with the U.S. election process.

This week, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate, meant to deter foreign governments from interfering in future American elections. The bill represents the latest push on Capitol Hill to address Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and counter potential threats ahead of the 2018 midterms.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Tuesday introduced the “Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act,” which lays out specific foreign actions against U.S. elections that would warrant penalties from the federal government. Van Hollen said in a statement that the bill would send “an unequivocal message to Russia and any other foreign actor who may follow its example: if you attack us, the consequences will be severe.”