The ratio of cybercrimes in Europe has doubled in the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the lives of people indoors and online, as per the new figures revealed by the crime monitoring body.
Nick Paton Walsh in CNN said that as per the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, ENISA, significant cyberattacks against critical targets in Europe have doubled in 2020.
There were 304 significant, malicious attacks against "critical sectors" in 2020, more than double the 146 recorded the year before.
The agency also reported a 47 per cent rise in attacks on hospitals and health care networks in the same period, as the same criminal networks sought to cash in on the pandemic's most vital services.
The figures show the growing global impact of cyberattacks, often in the form of ransomware, which has recently caused havoc in the United States when the Darkside group targeted the Colonial Pipeline network causing gas station queues because of a fear of shortages.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant "a lot of services were provided online and that happened in a kind of rush, so security was as an afterthought," said Apostolos Malatras, team leader for knowledge and information at ENISA. At the same time people stayed indoors and had time to explore vulnerabilities in systems and critical infrastructure, he added.
Surveys of businesses by the British security firm Sophos also concluded that the average cost of a ransomware attack has doubled in the year to date. The survey estimated the cost for 2020 at 761,106 dollars but by this year that figure had leapt to 1.85 million dollars. The cost includes insurance, business lost, cleanup and any ransomware payments.
The rising cost reflects the greater complexity of some attacks, said John Shier, senior security adviser at Sophos, who added that while the number of attacks had dropped, their sophistication had risen.
"It looks like they are trying to be more purposeful," Shier said. "So they're breaching companies, understanding exactly what company they breached and trying to penetrate as fully as possible, so that they can then extract as much money as possible," he added.
Earlier it was reported that the banking sector is becoming more exposed to cyber crime after coronavirus accelerated digitalisation and remote weworking, as per S&P Global Ratings.