Cyberwarfare / Nation-State Attacks , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

German Police Warn of Increased Foreign Cybercrime Threat

BKA Says Cybercrime From Overseas Actors Surged by 8% in 2022
German Police Warn of Increased Foreign Cybercrime Threat

Ransomware and other cyberthreats stemming from overseas actors surged last year in Germany, causing losses worth billions of euros, the country's federal police said.

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In a report published on Wednesday, the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany, or BKA, said the country had recorded 136,865 cases of cybercrime in 2022, resulting in an estimated loss of 203 billion euros.

While domestic cybercrime decreased by 6.5% in comparison to 2021, the agency said crimes committed by foreign actors increased by 8%.

The BKA attributed the surge in attacks to the geopolitical fallout from Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in many Russia-based cybercrime groups taking up politically motivated attacks against European allies of Ukraine, including Germany.

In the wake of war, Germany recorded at least one ransomware attack each day, the BKA said, adding that the agency had uncovered 45 different malware applications deployed by 10 ransomware groups in 2022. These included new info stealer and wiper variants deployed in attacks against the country's critical infrastructure, the report says.

The ransomware groups that remained most active included LockBit, Black Basta and Vice Society.

In addition to ransomware, Germany also witnessed an uptick in distributed denial-of-service attacks, specifically from the pro-Russian self-titled hacktivist group KillNet, the report says.

Hacktivist activities subsided significantly toward the end of 2022 following the law enforcement crack-down on the darknet market place Hydra Market and around 50 booter websites, the agency added.

Despite the significant threat posed by overseas cybercrimes actors, the BKA said legal prosecution of the crooks remains a challenge due to a lack of "suitable investigation approaches," which makes identification of the criminals' whereabouts and their criminal persecution harder.

Unwillingness of foreign countries to cooperate with investigation is another challenge, making countries such as Russia a "safe haven" for crooks to continue to their operations with impunity, the agency said.

The BKA, which assisted in the Hydra Market and booter website takedowns, said dismantling of cybercrime infrastructure is by far the most effective measure to counter cybercrime.

"The BKA will therefore increasingly aim to dismantle criminal infrastructures in the future," it said.


About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.




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