The internet has brought countries, businesses and individuals closer, heightening the possibility of one spying on what others are doing. Cyber espionage, also referred to as cyber spying, is a type of cyber attack that malicious hackers carry out with the aim of gaining information that gives them advantages over rival companies, individuals or governments.
Most government and intelligence units sponsor cyber espionage to gain information about other countries’ political plans, military strength, economic status, and more. Companies sometimes engage in it to know what other rival companies are doing. Bad actors who engage in cyber espionage typically want to remain undetected in the IT environment for a long time. They employ other means to infiltrate the data, such as spearfishing, malware attacks, supply chain attacks and exploiting vulnerabilities in websites or browsers.
One of the threats posed by cyber espionage is the theft of intellectual property and confidential information which could affect the government, businesses or individuals targeted. Multiple cyber espionage have been carried out in the world. For example, In 2020, U.S. organisations and government agencies were the targets of a nation-state attack. FireEye, one of SolarWinds’ 300,000 customers, disclosed that the nation-state attack it suffered was the result of a massive supply chain attack on SolarWinds.
Cozy Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has been implicated in several high-profile cyber espionage campaigns targeted at the United States, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and many more countries. Also, North Korea has some cyber espionage attacks sponsored by the government targeting countries such as South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.
Defending against cyber espionage requires a multi-layered approach. These include implementing strong security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and data encryption. It also requires training employees to be vigilant against phishing emails and other social engineering tactics. Additionally, businesses and government need to work together to share information on threats and vulnerabilities.