Making the digital world a safer place through cyber threat knowledge sharing

By Julian Meyrick, Managing Partner & Vice President, Security Strategy Risk & Compliance, Security Transformation Services Software, IBM Security

Cyber threat actors thrived from geopolitical and human upheaval in 2022. IBM Security’s annual X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2023, published on 22nd February, sheds light on their ever-changing tactics and impact. By better understanding the impact of cyber incidents, organisations like the Charter Of Trust can better share cyber threat insights and best-practices, allowing commercial and governmental victim organisations to better prepare.

The year 2022 was another tumultuous one for cybersecurity. While there was no shortage of contributing events, among the most significant were the continuing effects of the pandemic and the eruption of the military conflict in Ukraine. Disruption made 2022 a year of economic, geopolitical and human upheaval and cost—creating exactly the kind of chaos in which cybercriminals thrive. And thrive they did.

IBM’s annual X-Force Threat Intelligence Index , released yesterday, analyses global cyber risks and incident impacts across different sectors and regions. It provides a comprehensive look at the tactics and techniques used by threat actors, as well as the intended impact on targeted organisations observed by X-Force in 2022.

A few of the report’s key findings:

  • More Backdoors, More (Ransomware) Problems. Representing 21% of cases, backdoor deployments were the most common action observed in incidents in 2022; knocking out ransomware, which held the top spot since at least 2020.
  • Extortion: Threat Actors Go-To Impact.More than one quarter of all incidents involved extortion – making it the top impact on businesses in 2022. Cybercriminals are adopting techniques with high psychological impact to force victims to pay, and often target the most vulnerable industries, businesses and regions. Manufacturing was the most extorted industry in 2022 – accounting for 30% of incidents involving extortion – it was also the most attacked industry for the second year in a row. Manufacturing organisations are an attractive target for extortion, given the extremely low tolerance for down time.
  • Phishers “Give Up” on Credit Card Data. The number of phishing kits targeting credit card information dropped 52% last year – phishers are prioritizing personally identifiable information, which can be sold on the dark web for a higher price or used to conduct further operations.;

With information on how cyber threats impact victim organisation, those organisations can use that information to plan responses to potential future incidents more effectively. Such insights are also relevant for governments around the globe seeking to improve existing cyber regulations.

The 2023 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index provides proof that threat actors are changing their methods and it provides insights into how organisations can prepare by offering workable recommendations.

One thing is clear: we need to share such knowledge and best-practices to ensure our cyber preparedness is aligned with the evolutions of cybercrime.

Organisations like the Charter Of Trust serve the same purpose: to work together, share information and ensure more operational collaboration between both government agencies and industry, but also between commercial entities themselves.

I believe informative reports, like the X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, are important steps to facilitate such collaboration and make the digital world a safer place—which is a global priority, now more than ever.

Read more about the results in the X-Force Threat Intelligence Index.