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Cyberattacks on European nations by threat actors linked to Russia and China are increasingly targeting public officials and data related to national security. These sorts of digital forays raise concerns about cybersecurity budgets in the targeted nations and should be more concerning than ever, now that the world has witnessed cyber warfare feed escalation into unprecedented military action in the physical world. 

Israeli-linked hacker group Gonjeshke Darande has volleyed several cyberattacks at Iran’s commercial infrastructure over the past couple of years, which likely played a role in the buildup to Tehran directly launching rockets and drones at Israel from within Iranian territory for the first time ever this year. As of 2021, US government sources suggest that Chinese hackers with links to its national spy agency had targeted every European Union member state. 

Related ETF: First Trust NASDAQ Cybersecurity ETF (CIBR)

Russian and Chinese hackers have been increasing the scope of their operations targeting European governments and critical private sector firms. Last week, Germany accused Russia of launching cyberattacks on its defense and aerospace firms, as well as members of its ruling Social Democrats party. This was done by exploiting previously unknown vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Outlook software, allowing the hackers to compromise email accounts. Germany’s interior ministry also said that servers of companies in critical sectors had been compromised but did not name any specific affected firms. This campaign persisted for many months, going back to at least March 2022, and was not isolated to Germany, simultaneously targeting government bodies and critical infrastructure operators in in Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden.

Information about a separate attack by hackers targeting the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense was unveiled yesterday. Breached data included personal and banking information of British military personnel, extracted from a third-party payroll system. Though the British government has not formally accused any nation of backing the hackers, Sky News understands this to be China. MRP noted in April that third-party vendors handling data or trusted access on behalf of a much larger organization are being increasingly utilized as a backdoor by…

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