Orange cyber report: highest number of victims ever recorded

Large enterprises (40%) are impacted the most by cyber extortion, followed by small organisations (25%) and medium-sized businesses (23%)
Orange Cyberdefense's Security Navigator 2024 reveals the highest number of cyber extortion victims recorded, with an increase of 46% worldwide in 2023

The last 12 months saw the highest number of cyber extortion victims on record, according to research published by Europe's leading cybersecurity service provider Orange Cyberdefense, the specialist arm of Orange dedicated to cybersecurity.

The annual security research report, Security Navigator 2024, which gathers, cross-references and analyses data from a wide variety of sources, paints a broad and complex picture of the world of cybersecurity, amplified by geopolitical, economic and social dimensions.

The Security Navigator 2024 reveals that Orange’s threat detection teams processed 30% more events across the period. Of these, the threat action ‘hacking’ remained the most prominent, accounting for almost a third of confirmed incidents (30.32%), followed by misuse (16.61%) and malware (12.98%).

2023 has seen the highest count of cyber extortion victims on record

According to the report, the past 12 months saw the number of cyber extortion victims globally increase by 46%, marking the highest numbers ever recorded. Large enterprises were the victim in the majority of attacks (40%), with those employing more than 10,000+ people seeing a steady increase. 

This trend, Orange says, was exacerbated by a single threat actor, Cl0p, which exploited two major vulnerabilities in 2023.

Large, English-speaking economies continue to account for the highest numbers of victims, with over half (53%) headquartered in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom (2nd, 6%) and Canada (3rd, 5%).

A new levelling of the physical and cyber battlefields, hacktivism as a powerful political tool

Over the past two years, there has been an evident increase of activity in the hacktivism space to support causes of a political or social nature. According to Orange, attacks from hacktivist groups involved in the war against Ukraine – siding with either Russia or Ukraine – have reached record-high levels, with Ukraine, Poland and Sweden the most impacted by the pro-Russian hacktivists. 

This upwards trend is being exacerbated further by other geopolitical events which have sparked the creation of new groups, most recently spawned following the latest developments in the Middle East.

Europe was impacted by 85% of all hacktivist attacks seen in 2023, followed by North America (7%) and the Middle East (3%).

“This year’s report underlines the unpredictable environment we face today, and we see our teams working harder than ever as the number of detected incidents continues to increase (+30% YOY),” said Hugues Foulon, CEO, Orange Cyberdefense. “Whilst we are seeing a surge in the number of large businesses impacted by Cyber Extortion (40%), small and medium businesses together are making up nearly half of all victims (48%).

“Together, with our customers, we are pursuing an unwavering policy of awareness and support for our increasingly interconnected world. We are adapting to new technologies and preparing for new threat actors by continuing to anticipate, detect and contain attacks when they emerge.”

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