CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that gained attention during the impeachment proceedings, released its annual global threat report, which showed telecoms and public institutions are being increasingly targeted.

“This year’s report indicates a massive increase in eCrime behavior can easily disrupt business operations, with criminals employing tactics to leave organizations inoperable for large periods of time,” said Jennifer Ayers, vice president of OverWatch at CrowdStrike, in a statement.

The report, released March 3, shows the telecommunications industry is being targeted with increased frequency, including efforts by China and North Korea. Nations, particularly China, have an interest in targeting telecoms to steal intellectual property and intelligence information, according to CrowdStrike Intelligence.

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Thomas Etheridge, CrowdStrike’s vice president of services, said in an interview that he found the increase in malware-free attacks most surprising. In 2019, 51 percent of attacks used malware-free techniques compared to 40 percent using malware-free techniques in 2018. This change showed the need for more than simply traditional antivirus solutions, the report said.


Etheridge said there was an increase in the “volume and intensity” of ransomware attacks in 2019, particularly toward local governments and municipalities. The report shows the price of the ransoms also increased as did the sophistication of the attacks.

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Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.