A message from Davos: cybercriminals are catching up with state-sponsored gangs

According to Interpol, cyberattacks grew 125% over the past year. However, most cases remain unreported, making it challenging to paint an accurate picture.

"There's no doubt that the threat is increasing. We see criminal groups acting in a more sophisticated way. How they organize themselves is very different from traditional mafia-style where people know each other, maybe from the same families, same region," Jürgen Stock, Interpol's Secretary-General, said during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Cyber gangs are more like yellow pages on the Internet, where criminals can be hired for a quick one-time job. Cybercrime is a global issue while law enforcement still operates on a national level, and it only adds to the challenge of catching crooks.

What is more, it's not the IT security but human failure that opens the door to cyberattacks, said Stock.

"As the world is becoming more connected, the challenge is how do we connect the various dots that need to be connected that allow us to share information in real-time to allow us to be prepared for the next attack that will come. It's only a matter of time," he said.

Many companies still don't pay enough attention to cybersecurity and acknowledge its importance only when it's too late.

"Many companies still start seriously working on that when they first have been hit, and the data is blocked. This is when the action starts. Who are my points of contact? Where is my data? Who can help? That's my experience from talking to many senior leaders who called saying, 'I've been attacked, what I'm going to do.' Too late, sorry," Stock said.

In the physical world, weapons used on the battlefield by the military today will be used by organized crime groups tomorrow.

"The same applies for the digital weapons that today may be used by the military, developed by the military, and tomorrow will be available for criminals," he said.

Josephine Teo, Singapore's Minister for Communications and Information, agrees that cybercrime poses a growing threat to organizations worldwide. Because of the war in Ukraine and the ripple effect it has caused, many companies and institutions are exposed.

"One key trend is that cybercriminals, in terms of their level of sophistication, seem to be catching up with state-sponsored APT actors. We observe that this has become a national security question because critical information infrastructure can come under threat," she said.

The problem is that the cybercriminal world is lucrative and self-funded; therefore, we can expect it to prosper.

"This is an area that demands urgent attention, a lot of international cooperation," she said.

Teo also pointed out that rampant exploitation of supply chain and software vulnerabilities is yet another risk that we should attend to.

"No business can operate without using some third-party software. There was a relationship of trust between the clients and managed services providers, and this trust is being undermined. When you have an absence of trust, how can you continue to digitize your businesses at a rate that would bring about great benefits. This is a long-standing problem that isn't going away," she said.

More from Cybernews:

Why can't Russians hack Starlink satellites?

Hacker wars heat up as the pro-Russian Killnet attacks Italy

YouTube takes down 70,000 videos for trivializing the war in Ukraine

Senate accuses ID firm of lying about privacy

How Ukraine is harnessing the power of the IT crowd to defend itself

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