New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) Security researchers have observed a surge in hacktivist incidents in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023 globally, in which India emerged as a prime target of hacktivism due to religious motivations, a new report said on Monday.
According to cybersecurity firm CloudSEK, the hacktivism landscape changed drastically in the first quarter of 2023, with attacks surging to 35 per cent of the total in April.
Although there was a slight decrease in the average in May, similar trends were observed in June.
Moreover, the report mentioned that hacktivist groups have targeted a total of 67 countries worldwide from 2021 to 2023.
Among these countries, India emerged as the most targeted, followed closely by Israel, Poland, Australia, Pakistan and impacted various regions across the globe, including Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania, indicating a widespread presence of these cyber threats.
“Countries such as India, Israel, Denmark, and Sweden emerged as prime targets of hacktivism due to religious motivations, while hacktivist attacks on Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, and others were primarily motivated by political factors,” the researchers said.
The government sector faced the highest impact of hacktivist attacks, followed by the Non-Profit, Education, Automobile, Finance & Banking, and Energy-Oil & Gas sectors, according to the report.
“The non-profit sector was highly vulnerable and experienced many attacks, although these attacks had relatively less impact. On the other hand, the automobile and education sectors faced defacement, DDoS attacks, and occasional instances of alleged data leaks through the exploitation of openly available data using Google Dorking techniques,” the researchers stated.
Further, the report said that the hacktivist groups employed similar tactics across regions, with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks being a favoured attack vector. Defacement attacks, allowing perpetrators to modify websites and leave messages conveying their motives, were also commonly used.
For the Finance & Banking sector, DDoS attacks targeted their Internet banking services, while attacks on the energy sector aimed to convey messages to governments and gain popularity. Repetitive DDoS attacks on government infrastructure, major companies, and organisations in targeted countries had severe repercussions, including service disruptions, operational disturbances, financial losses, and reputational damage.