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Cyberattacks Doubled In Europe During Pandemic

Cybercrime in Europe doubled in the past year as hackers took advantage of the pandemic, CNN reported, citing figures from the European Union.

The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), told CNN that 2020 had more than double the number of attacks over the previous year — 304 compared to 146 in 2019. There also was a 47 percent hike in cyberattacks on hospitals and healthcare networks.

The global impact of cyberattacks, which in many cases take the form of ransomware, is on the rise. The U.S. was hurt by recent hacks on the Colonial Pipeline network and the world’s largest meat processor JBS.

Apostolos Malatras, team leader for knowledge and information at ENISA, told CNN that the pandemic’s effect of moving life’s activities offline to digital happened so suddenly that “security was an afterthought.”

At the same time, expenses related to ransomware also doubled year to date, estimated at $761,106 in 2020 and now up to $1.85 million, according to British security firm Sophos, per CNN.

The uptick in costs relates to the deeper intricacy of some of the latest infiltrations, John Shier, senior security adviser at Sophos, told the news outlet. Although the number of attacks is lower, the level of complexity is up.

“It looks like they are trying to be more purposeful,” Shier said, per CNN. “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.”

Most recently, McDonald’s — the world’s largest quick-service restaurant (QSR) — was hacked in the U.S., South Korea, and Taiwan. PYMNTS Mobile Order-Ahead tracker, in collaboration with Kount, indicated that multifactor authentication (MFA) would halt 99 percent of cyberattacks.

Chris Finan, chief operating officer of cybersecurity firm ActZero and former director of Cybersecurity Legislation and Policy at the National Security Council (NSC) for the Obama administration, told PYMNTS that small business cybersecurity is an intricate ecosystem.

The May Digital Fraud Tracker by PYMNTS done in collaboration with PayPal showed that credential stuffing — a cyberattack method that taps compromised user credentials — is a growing concern for digital platforms.

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