Islamabad: A recent report from the Kaspersky Response and Detection Team has revealed a staggering 300 per cent surge in espionage-related cyberattacks in Pakistan during the initial quarter of 2024 compared to the same timeframe in 2023, ARY News reported.

The findings underscore a worrying trend in cyber warfare, with attacks involving direct human involvement surpassing two per day in 2023.

In various sectors, including finance, IT, government, and industrial fields, the spike in cyberattacks has been apparent, ARY News reported.

The public sector saw a 22.9 per cent increase in attacks, followed by IT companies with 15.4 per cent, and the financial and industrial sectors at 14.9 per cent and 11.8 per cent respectively.

The report offers comprehensive insights into annual incidents, their nature, distribution by industry, and geographical regions, highlighting prevalent tactics, techniques, and tools utilised by attackers, with human-driven events comprising 25 per cent of the total incidents.

While malware attacks experienced a slight decrease in 2023, the threat landscape in Pakistan remained diverse during the initial quarters of 2023 and 2024.

Backdoor attacks witnessed a slight uptick in 2024, signalling persistent vulnerabilities in digital infrastructure. Notably, spyware attacks surged by a remarkable 300 per cent in the initial quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, raising concerns over espionage and data breaches.

However, banking malware attacks are anticipated to decline by over 50 per cent from 2023, highlighting evolving threat dynamics. These fluctuations underscore the necessity for continuous enhancement of cybersecurity measures to safeguard Pakistan's digital infrastructure against diverse and emerging threats.

Hafeez Rehman, Kaspersky's technical group manager, stressed the detection of a small number of high-severity incidents alongside an increase in medium and low-severity incidents. He cautioned that fewer high-severity events do not necessarily indicate reduced harm, as targeted attacks are becoming more sophisticated and perilous.

To bolster protection against severe attacks, Rehman recommended the implementation of effective automated cybersecurity solutions. Additionally, companies are advised to embrace managed security services such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and incident response, along with hiring qualified practitioners for the detection and management of cyber threats, ARY News reported.

(With Agency Inputs)