Pablo López-Agu...
State of the cyber threat landscape 2017


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2017 was the year in which incidents in the cyberthreat landscape have led to the definitive recognition of some omnipresent facts. We have gained unwavering evidence regarding monetization methods, attacks to democracies, cyber-war, transformation of malicious infrastructures and the dynamics within threat agent groups.

But 2017 has also brought successful operations against cyber-criminals. Law enforcement, governments and vendors have managed to shut down illegal dark markets, de-anonymize the Darknet and arrest cybercriminals. Moreover, state-sponsored campaigns have been revealed and details of technologies deployed by nation states have been leaked. Mostly remarkable though is the manifestation of the cyberthreat landscape within framework programmes that are about to be established in the financial sector: cyberthreats make up the basis for the development and implementation of red and blue teaming activities in financial sector, both within Member States and across Europe.

But the cybersecurity community is still far from striking the balance between defenders and attackers. Although 2017 has reached records in security investments, it has also brought new records in cyberattacks of all kinds, data breaches, and information loss. From this perspective, one may argue that there is a market failure in cyber-security; that is, the increased defence levels and expenses cannot successfully reduce levels of cyberthreat exposure.

Whether this is due to a segmented cyber-security market, lack of awareness or capabilities and skills, are topics of vivid discussions in the corresponding communities. The fact is however, that in 2017 we have seen a significantly increased amount of information on cyber-security incidents, cyberthreats and related matters to attract the attention of all kinds of media. This trend is indicative for the high level of interest assigned by media to cybersecurity issues.

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