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New KnowBe4 report reveals spike in public sector cyber attacks

A recent report by KnowBe4, a leading provider of security awareness training, has revealed a major increase in cyber attacks targeted at the public sector in 2023. The study highlights the pressing need to strengthen security culture across government agencies and public services.

The report unveils alarming statistics about the growth in threats facing the public sector. Cyber assaults on government bodies and public services rose 40% in the second quarter of 2023 over the first. Ransomware attacks specifically skyrocketed, with spikes of 95% against government agencies and law firms in the third quarter.

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Overall, global ransomware incidents themselves climbed 95% in quarter three 2023 versus the same period last year. The average cost of a data breach has also increased 15% over three years.

Making matters worse, cyber criminals are now adopting AI tools to generate increasingly advanced social engineering scams. Phishing, vishing, spear phishing and smishing continue to be the most common and successful attack vectors.

“Through training programmes, this cost-effective, straightforward approach can effectively counteract social engineering,” said KnowBe4’s CEO Stu Sjouwerman. “But as attacks exploiting human weaknesses grow more sophisticated, continuously reinforcing security culture is indispensable for digital defence and operational resilience.”

The report spotlights the pressing need to strengthen cyber security awareness across the public sector, as staff remain the last line of defence against threats. To download the full report on rising cyber crime in government and public services, click here.

Featured image by cottonbro studio.

Read next: 5 things technology leaders wish their boards knew about cybersecurity response

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