Tracing The Origins Of Cyberattacks

By Pete Rizzo, Editor (@pete_rizzo_)

Massachusetts-based enterprise cloud platform Akamai revealed that 87 percent of all cybercrime originated from Asia and Europe during the first quarter of 2013. These findings came as part of its quarterly “State of the Internet Report,” released this July.

The study found that despite technological advances – evidenced by faster Internet and mobile connection speeds – cybercrime remained a pervasive threat to the global economy. Attacks originated from 117 countries and regions during the three-month study period.

Notably, the report revealed that 68 percent of cyberattacks now come from the Asia Pacific/Oceania region. Extremely high cybercrime levels in China and Indonesia elevated this figure.

Asia would not have led by such a wide margin if not for China, which accounted for 34 percent of all attacks and 50 percent of the Asia Pacific/Oceania region’s cybercrime activity.

The high levels of cybercrime emanating from China are consistent with past reports that have documented the country’s obsession with hacking.

The University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science investigated China’s “admiration” for hackers in 2010. It found that upwards of 85 percent of Chinese Internet users want to become hackers, and that more than 53 percent of respondents believe hackers should use their skills to make money

The British University said that low IT industry salaries, weak cybercrime legislation and widespread income inequality are combining to propel more young Chinese people to put their technological skills to use for illegal purposes.

Asia isn’t the only region that’s causing the rest of the world trouble, though. Akamai also revealed that Eastern Europe is a hotbed of cybercrime activity.

The Australian Digital Forensics Conference attempted to determine why more cyberattacks are originating from Eastern Europe in a 2009 report. Specifically, it set out to uncover whether Russian crime syndicates were to blame for cybercrime, as Western news headlines have routinely suggested.

It traced the evolution of cybercrime in Eastern Europe back to the fall of communism and determined that organized crime has been growing not just in Russia, but across the region – in Ukraine, Latvia and Moldova – to fill this vacuum of power. It cited statistics from a Council of Europe Organised Crime Situation Report that indicated there were between 300 and 400 important cybergangs operating within the Russian Federation

To see how other global regions fared in the report, click here for more data from Akamai.

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