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Press Release

Surge in public sector cyberattack incidents during 2023, reports KnowBe4

Press Release by KnowBe4 Wed 31 Jan 2024

KnowBe4 has released a comprehensive report detailing a surge in cyberattack incidents targeting the public sector in 2023.

This report sheds light on the trends, statistics, and real-life examples of cybercrime on a global scale, with a particular focus on government agencies and public sector services.

Alarming Increase in Public Sector Vulnerabilities

The public sector’s appeal to cybercriminals has intensified, primarily due to the vast amounts of personal data held by government agencies, making them prime targets.

The report reveals a 40% increase in cyberattacks against these entities in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the first.

Notably, government agencies and law practices witnessed a 95% spike in ransomware attacks in the third quarter, underscoring the escalating threat landscape.

Moreover, the report highlights a global surge in ransomware attacks by 95% in the third quarter of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022.

A 15% increase in the cost of data breaches over three years was also identified.

The adoption of Generative AI by cybercriminals to craft more sophisticated social engineering attacks further complicates the cybersecurity challenges faced by the public sector.

The Human Factor in Cybersecurity

The report emphasises the ongoing efficacy of social engineering tactics like phishing, vishing, spear phishing, and smishing, which exploit human vulnerabilities to gain unauthorised access to systems.

KnowBe4 advocates for strengthening the human aspect of cybersecurity through comprehensive security awareness training, recognising that employees often represent the last line of defense yet can be the weakest link in the security chain.

Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4, said: “Through proper training initiatives, this cost-effective and straightforward approach can effectively counteract social engineering tactics.”

Sjouwerman also highlighted the need for reinforcing a strong security culture within organisations as an indispensable tool for ensuring enduring digital defense and operational continuity in the face of increasing cyberattack sophistication.

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