The technological era in which we live promotes that most of our personal information – photos, bank details, telephone numbers, addresses, etc. – are available online. Also, hospitals, governments and companies have benefited from the technology to make their functions more efficient and their operations to be more user-friendly. However, the dependence we have developed on technology and the Internet makes many areas of our life highly vulnerable to cyber attacks.

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, points out that “there are two types of companies, those that have been hacked and those that do not know that they have been hacked.” It is estimated that at least 97% of the companies listed in Fortune 500 have been victims of cyber attacks; In this regard, Google revealed that there is approximately one cyber attack every 11 minutes. Juniper Networks, one of the most important cybersecurity multinationals in the world, found that hacking crimes have more commercial value than drug trafficking.

As we have mentioned, there are known cases of hackers that take advantage of the computer vulnerabilities of private entities to extort or monetize the information of victims or users of these private organizations. In addition to economically , cyber espionage can be politically very profitable.

North Korea has an army of approximately 6,000 hackers who are constantly being trained and relocated in various parts of the world, according to the New York Times . Kim Jong- il , father of the current North Korean dictator, decided to recruit students and provide them with special training in computer science in China. Also, at the end of the nineties, the FBI detected that personnel of the North Korean representation before the UN began to attend programming courses in New York.

When Kim Jong-Un, who rose to power in 2011, expanded the cyber missions program, no longer exclusively as a tool of war, but as political harassment. With the development of this program, it is now known that North Korea has been responsible for stealing one billion dollars from the Federal Reserve and the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014.

The attack was intended to prevent Sony from releasing the movie ” The Interview,” which was a satire of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. However, the police report indicates that several terabytes of information with industrial secrets were stolen, including movie scripts not yet premiered, celebrity contracts, internal communications, personal information of Sony employees, among other information. According to experts, this theft of information caused losses of 500 million dollars. This attack was treated as a matter of national security and triggered a diplomatic crisis.

Three months before the attack of Sony, a British television was the victim of a similar attack. On that occasion, the government of North Korea had threatened the television station not to broadcast a series about the kidnapping of a nuclear scientist in Pyongyang. Therefore, the background there was for anyone who could cause discomfort to the regime. Thus, the North Korean government is recognized for having one of the most effective espionage and cyber attacks programs in the world. It is estimated that North Korea gets billions of dollars with these attacks.

In the case of the examples described, the attacks were directed at large companies. However, cyber espionage can harm the economy of ordinary citizens and small businesses. At least half of the small businesses around the world have had incidents of cybersecurity, causing damages of more than 500,000 dollars to at least half of those that have suffered attacks, according to Grupo Imagen .

In Mexico, in 2013, 5 out of 10 companies reported a cyber attack, causing losses of 3 billion dollars. According to Ovum , 32% of companies in Mexico lack insurance against cyber attacks, with telecommunications companies lagging behind; On the other hand, financial and retail companies are the most protected with 73% and 76% respectively. Recently, several cyber attacks have taken place in Mexico, which have been linked to groups working for North Korea. Among these attacks are those to the National Bank of Foreign Trade, the insurer AXA and the theft of 300 million pesos through SPEI transfers. Unfortunately, these crimes are expected to increase.


Do you have doubts about how exposed and vulnerable your company is to cyber attacks? Write to info@riesgospoliticos.com.mx to provide you with the advice you need.     


Photo by Duy Hoang on Unsplash

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