Most IT pros say cyberwarfare threat greater after Ukraine war - report

Armis CTO: “All organizations should consider themselves possible targets for cyberwarfare attacks and secure their assets accordingly.”

 ARMIS: BRINGING hackers out of the shadows. (photo credit: PXFUEL)
ARMIS: BRINGING hackers out of the shadows.
(photo credit: PXFUEL)

More than 3 in 5 IT and security professionals agree that the war has created a greater threat of cyber warfare, and a quarter of global organizations feel underprepared to handle cyberwarfare in the modern cybersecurity climate, according to a new report from Israeli cybersecurity company Armis.

The Armis State of Cyberwarfare and Trends Report: 2022-2023 highlights the increased prominence of cyberwarfare following the ongoing Eastern European conflict, noting that over half (54%) of IT security professionals surveyed reported experiencing more threat activity on their networks in the past six months (May-October 2022) than the six months prior.

As well, in many organizations the increasing threat of cyberwarfare has led to slower product development. Per the report, 55% of IT professionals reported that the growing danger has led their organizations to stall or stop digital transformation projects. “This percentage is even higher in specific countries, including Australia (79%), the U.S. (67%), Singapore (63%), the UK (57%), and Denmark (56%),” noted the report.

“Cyberwarfare is the future of terrorism on steroids, providing a cost-effective and asymmetric method of attack, which requires constant vigilance and expenditure to defend against,” said Nadir Izrael, CTO and co-founder of Armis.

“Clandestine cyberwarfare is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We now see brazen cyberattacks by nation-states, often with the intent to gather intelligence, disrupt operations or outright destroy data,” Izrael said. “Based on these trends, all organizations should consider themselves possible targets for cyberwarfare attacks and secure their assets accordingly.”

 Nadir Izrael, co-founder and CTO, Armis (credit: ARMIS) Nadir Izrael, co-founder and CTO, Armis (credit: ARMIS)

Apathy in the face of danger

In contrast to Izrael’s wariness, it seems as though a decent portion of organizations aren't really that worried about cyberwarfare.

The report found that 78% of IT professionals feel it’s likely that their company will invest more of its budget into cybersecurity, indicating a growing concern among those who work in positions that directly face the issue. However, on an organizational scale, that concern is limited: one-third of the organizations surveyed said that they were either indifferent or unconcerned about the impact of cyber warfare.

From a psychological perspective though, that apathy isn’t necessarily strange. In an interview during the outset of the war in Ukraine, Menny Barzilay, partner at Cytactic and CTO of the Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University, explained that it’s not necessarily in human nature to fear something as intangible as a cyber threat.

“Our brains are equipped to deal with threats that can be identified through our senses: if you can see it, smell it, taste it, hear it or touch it, our brains perceive it as a threat. In cyberspace, we cannot feel, we cannot taste, we cannot see - we can only hear about these attacks and believe that they are there,” Barzilay explained.

“If Israel sends one soldier to Russia with one gun and one bullet, to shoot one target in Russia, a war will start that might influence the entire world. One soldier, one gun, one shot,” he continued. “But if 10,000 Russian hackers attack the United States, and 20,000 American hackers attack Russia, you’ll see a situation where the two presidents meet, shake hands and talk about what they can do to better promote world peace.”