A decade of global cyberattacks, and where they left us

The cyberattack landscape has seen monumental shifts and enormous growth in the past decade or so.

I spoke to Michelle Alvarez, X-Force Strategic Threat Analysis Manager at IBM, who told me that the most visible change in cybersecurity can be summed up in one word: scale. A decade ago, “’mega-breaches’ were relatively rare, but now feel like an everyday occurrence.”

A summary of the past decade in global cyberattacks

The cybersecurity landscape has been impacted by major world events, especially in recent years. These include the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as recent military conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas.

These events activated both financially motivated threat actors looking to profit from these crises, as well as state-sponsored activity, according to Alvarez. Social engineering attacks exploited public anxiety about global geopolitical events, such as in email campaigns that aimed to spread malware. Supply chains became more vulnerable during the pandemic.

While the major national targets for the biggest attacks remained North America, Europe and Asia, Alvarez also stated that the decade saw big new increases in Latin America.

2013: Cloud computing

Global context: The year 2013 was attended by the rise of cloud computing, which expanded the attack surface for cyber criminals. The Snowden revelations began in June 2013.

In 2013, decade global cyberattacks where