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Spyware Incidents Surge by 300% in Pakistan

Spyware Incidents Surge by 300% in Pakistan

Spyware attacks in Pakistan experienced a concerning surge during the first quarter of 2024, soaring by an alarming 300% compared to the corresponding period in 2023. This dramatic increase underscores a growing threat of espionage and data infiltration in the country’s digital landscape.

The Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response (MDR) team’s analysis revealed that incidents of high-severity attacks, involving direct human engagement, exceeded two per day in 2023, highlighting the severity of the situation.

Kaspersky’s latest report sheds light on this troubling trend across various sectors, with industries such as finance, IT, government, and industrial sectors being prime targets.

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A detailed comparison of cyberattack data between the first quarters of 2023 and 2024 in Pakistan reveals evolving threats. While there was a moderate increase in backdoor attacks in 2024, indicating persistent vulnerabilities in the digital infrastructure, there was a notable decline of over 50% in banking malware attacks compared to 2023. However, these fluctuations emphasize the urgent need for continuous improvement in cybersecurity measures to protect Pakistan’s digital ecosystem from dynamic threats.

The report highlights that 22.9% of all detected high-severity incidents occurred in the government sector, with IT companies following closely at 15.4%, and financial and industrial companies reporting 14.9% and 11.8% of incidents, respectively.

Based on an analysis of MDR incidents detected by the Kaspersky Security Operations Centre (SOC), the report provides insights into the nature of these incidents, their distribution by industry and region, and common tactics, techniques, and tools employed by attackers.

In 2023, nearly 25% of incidents were driven by human involvement, with malware attacks resulting in serious consequences decreasing slightly compared to previous years, accounting for just over 12% of total reported critical incidents. This decline, attributed to the “commoditization of attacks,” underscores the evolving nature of cybersecurity threats.

Hafeez Rehman, Technical group manager at Kaspersky, emphasized the importance of effective automated cybersecurity solutions managed by experienced SOC analysts in mitigating these threats. He noted that while the number of high-severity incidents may have decreased, the increasing sophistication of targeted attacks necessitates enhanced vigilance and robust defense mechanisms.