From Ukraine to the Whole of Europe: Cyber Conflict Reaches a Turning Point | Business



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(Photo: Thales)

Eastern and Northern Europe on the front lines of the cyber conflict

A new attack geography has taken shape over the last 12 months. At the very beginning of the conflict, the majority of incidents only affected Ukraine (50.4% in the first quarter of 2022 versus 28.6% in the third quarter), but EU countries have seen a sharp increase in conflict-related incidents in the last six months (9.8% versus 46.5% of global attacks).

In the summer of 2022, there were almost as many conflict-related incidents in EU countries as there were in Ukraine (85 versus 86), and in the first quarter of 2023, the overwhelming majority of incidents (80.9%) have been inside the European Union.

Candidates for European integration such as Montenegro and Moldova are being increasingly targeted (0.7% of attacks in the first quarter of 2022 versus 2.7% at the end of 2022) and Poland is under constant harassment, with a record number of 114 incidents related to the conflict over the past year. War hacktivists have specifically targeted the Baltic countries (157 incidents in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and Nordic countries (95 incidents in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland). Germany saw 58 incidents in the past year, but other European countries have been relatively spared, such as France (14 attacks), the UK (18 attacks), Italy (14 attacks) and Spain (4 attacks).

“In the third quarter of 2022, Europe was dragged into a high-intensity hybrid cyber-war at a turning point in the conflict, with a massive wave of DDoS attacks, particularly in the Nordic and Baltic countries and Eastern Europe. Cyber is now a crucial weapon in the arsenal of new instruments of war, alongside disinformation, manipulation of public opinion, economic warfare, sabotage and guerrilla tactics. With the lateralisation of the conflict from Ukraine to the rest of Europe, Western Europe should be wary of possible attacks on critical…