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more than 830 attacks on critical networks in France in 2022

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In its latest overview of the threat, the National Information Systems Security Agency notes a renewed activity on ransomware at the end of the year. Espionage remains a primary concern.

Be careful not to misunderstand, warns the National Information Systems Security Agency (Anssi). If in absolute value, the number of critical intrusions that its experts had to deal with fell slightly compared to 2021 (831 in 2022 against 1082 the previous year), the computer threat remains just as strong. With the exception of hospitals, this figure rather reflects a shift in this threat, from regulated public and private operators who are now better protected against cybersecurity to more vulnerable entities. Attackers also target service providers, suppliers, subcontractors, regulatory bodies and the broader ecosystem of their targets, seeking to compromise peripheral equipment (such as firewalls or routers) to ensure more discreet and lasting access to the networks of their victims.

If the first half of 2022 was marked by a decrease
ransomware activity (due in part to upheavals among criminal groups linked to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict), the latter has resumed since the summer, particularly directed towards local authorities and
healthcare establishments, and intensified towards the end of the year. “This cybercriminal threat particularly affects VSEs, SMEs and ETIs (40% of ransomware processed or reported to ANSSI in 2022), local authorities (23%) and public health establishments (10%)notes the agency.

Very active China

Attackers always take advantage of insufficiently mastered digital uses, weaknesses in data security and patches that are not applied in time to break into systems and carry out their criminal operations. “The use of the cloud and the outsourcing of services to digital service companies, when not accompanied by appropriate cybersecurity clauses, pose a serious threat“Insists the Anssi.

More than ransomware, it was the threat of computer espionage that most mobilized ANSSI experts last year. “Nearly half of the agency’s cyber defense operations in 2022 involved open source modus operandi associated with China. Repeated, these intrusions demonstrate a sustained desire to break into the networks of strategic French entities.” explains the report.

Vigilance on the energy sector

In 2022, the war between Russia and Ukraine, which has had multiple effects in cyberspace, has also generated a favorable context for increased destabilization actions in Europe. Distributed denial of service attacks, computer sabotage, compromise of information systems to carry out disinformation operations… cyberattacks have taken many forms. “While sabotage attacks have so far been relatively limited to Ukraine, the evolution of the conflict and its economic consequences call for particular vigilance, particularly in the energy sector.warns the ANSSI. Moreover, state attackers tend to use more and more ransomware for computer sabotage operations.

To best protect against these threats, the advice always remains the same: a rigorous digital hygiene and update policy, regular user awareness and investment in incident detection and processing capabilities.

As France prepares to host major events such as the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, we must increase everyone’s vigilance and responsibility, to face this threatens. » concludes Vincent Strubel, the new Director General of ANSSI.

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