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Cyberattacks rose 2 800 percent in Finland before Trump-Putin meeting

Cyber attacks against Finland rose more than 2 800 percent just days ahead of the meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the country's capital.

Published: July 25, 2018, 8:03 am

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    Cybersecurity researchers analysed the spike in the attacks, and last week US-based threat intelligence company F5, revealed how the attacks increased four days before the Helsinki meeting between the two world leaders.

    “Finland is not typically a top attacked country; it receives a small number of attacks on a regular basis,” according to F5.

    The report blamed China for carrying out the largest percentage of attacks, but it is notoriously difficult to pinpoint the origins of hackers as they often know how to mask their attacks.

    “China is typically the top attacking country on a regular basis,” F5 said. “This was also the case during the spike in attack traffic around the Trump-Putin meeting, however during that time, China launched a higher percentage of the attacks than normal.”

    Between July 14 and July 16, China launched 34 percent of the attacks, while the US launched only 12 percent. Russia came fifth as the summit approached. “Noticeably, Italy and Germany jumped from their 13th and 14th positions into the 4th and 7th positions respectively during the Trump-Putin traffic spike,” according to F5.

    Hackers focused largely on Internet of Things (IoT) devices which are generally poorly secured in an attempt to gain insight into the event. “Using technology—most specifically, IoT devices—to target people of interest or spy on large portions of populations isn’t new,” F5 noted.

    “This practice should be expected, but we write the stories to prove a point about the necessity for security that impacts everyone from the President of the United States to an unassuming civilian standing by a hacked wireless IP camera.”

    F5 had reported a similar spike during the American president’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, when hackers targeted Singapore’s technical infrastructure.

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