A lock screen from a cyber attack warns that data files have been encrypted on a laptop computer. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

India Witnessed Over 6.95 Lakh Cyber Attacks From Russia, U.S., Others 

India witnessed over 6.95 lakh incidents of cyber attack between January and June, with Russia, the U.S., China and the Netherlands as top cyber attackers, according to cyber-security firm F-Secure.

Interestingly, the top five countries that cyber attackers from India targeted were Austria, the Netherlands, the U.K., Japan and Ukraine, with the number cumulatively tallying up to 35,563 in the said period, as per the report.

F-Secure, in its report, said the insights are based on data from "honeypots.”

The company said it has deployed more than 41 such "honeypots" across the globe that "serve as sitting ducks for cyber criminals" and enables collection of the latest malware samples/shell scripts and new hacking techniques.

These "honeypots" are basically decoy servers that emulate the IT environment of a business. To the attackers, these look like actual servers of real companies with weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

This method, according to F-Secure, helps gain critical insights on attack types, popular targets, sources, volume, and tactics, techniques, and procedures.

"Such insights are collected by deliberately allowing potential attackers to gain unauthorised access to the emulated services of a server, and then studying the attack path to the point that the attacker realises it is a honeypot," it added.

The report said the top five source countries that targeted India included Russia with over 2.5 lakh attacks, followed by the U.S., China, the Netherlands, and Germany, totaling 4,36,090 attacks.

On the other hand, Indian cyber attackers targeted a total of 12,540 attacks toward Austrian organisations, over 9,000 attacks in the Netherlands, followed by the U.K, Japan, and Ukraine, the report said.

According to the report, India is ranked 21st in the global tally with 6.95 lakh attacks from hackers across various countries. However, India took the 13th spot in terms of hackers initiating attacks with 73,482 such incidents.

Also read: Global Cyber Attack Could Cost $121.4 Billion, Lloyd's Estimates

Globally, the U.K. was the biggest source country with a total of 9.7 crore attacks this year, while the U.S. was the top destination country with 1.1 crore attacks, it said.

"Our public honeypots are a valuable source of threat intelligence, and an integral part of the infrastructure that powers our various security offerings, including our Rapid Detection and Response Service," F-Secure vice president of cyber security products R&D Leszek Tasiemski said.

Tasiemski added that "the relatively higher number of inbound attacks on Indian honeypots also reflects how the fast-digitising country is becoming more lucrative for global cyber criminals".

"We are gathering and analysing all the pertinent data to ensure that our customers stay protected given the dynamically evolving threat landscape," he said.