Governments account for 87pc of all online spying

24 Apr 2014

A new report from Verizon Communications has found that 87pc of all spying done online originated from governments in 2013, and increasingly from Eastern Europe.

Given former CIA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaking of US National Security Agency documents highlighting the American government’s online spying on individuals, the report’s figure that 87pc of all cyberespionage was instigated by states may come as no surprise.

While the practice of spying on competitors has increased in the last number of years, the business world only accounts for about 2pc of all cyberespionage, while 11pc is attributed to organised crime.

And yet, the governments deemed responsible for the most cyberespionage are some of the US’ major rivals, eastern Asia, China and North Korea, at just under half (49pc) of all spying attempts.

Eastern Europe has seen the greatest growth in cyberespionage, particularly from the Russian-speaking parts of the region.

Perhaps most interesting of the report’s findings is that despite a whole range of means of hacking a computer remotely through advanced programs or exploits, such s the Heartbleed bug, one of the oldest of hacking attempts still remains the most popular, ‘spear fishing’.

The method of sending an email to someone with a malicious link in the hopes that the receiving person opens it accounts for 70pc of hacking attempts, while deliberate attacks against protected computers is much rarer.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic