CYBERSECURITYFive Cybersecurity Challenges Beyond Technology

Published 9 June 2022

The data are clear: cyberattacks have been on the rise in recent years and the cybersecurity situation is increasingly complex. More than 90% of cyberattacks are made possible, to a greater or lesser extent, by human error.

In a ransomware attack, a company’s computer systems are locked, and the attacker demands a ransom in cryptocurrency in return for unlocking the system. Malware infects a network of objects connected to the Internet of Things to steal the personal data of its users. Talking about cybersecurity is talking about technology. However, it is increasingly common to study cyber risk as part of an interdisciplinary approach. After all, threats are technological, but they also have to do with behavioral, social and ethical factors.

Addressing cybersecurity from this point of view is precisely the objective of the European Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Conference to be held on 15 and 16 June in Barcelona. The conference is being coordinated by two researchers from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC): professor David Megías, director of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), and Helena Rifà, a researcher at the IN3 and director of the Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity and Privacy, of the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications.

The Cybersecurity Situation in 2022
The data are clear: cyberattacks have been on the rise in recent years and the cybersecurity situation is increasingly complex. According to the latest report from ENISA, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, attacks increased in 2020 and 2021, not only in terms of vectors and number but also in terms of their impact. And according to McAfee, ransomware-like attacks (attacks asking for a ransom in exchange for stopping or releasing the hijacked information) are the most common.

Over the past two years, we haven’t only had a health pandemic but there has been a genuine pandemic of cyberattacks and cybercrime”, said David Megías, leader of the K-riptography and Information Security for Open Networks (KISON) research group. “Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the pandemic in many ways. In addition, with the increase in teleworking, cybercriminals have had easier access to computers that weren’t as well protected as those of companies. And, undoubtedly, the most common form of attack during these two years was ransomware, affecting institutions of all kinds: banks, energy suppliers, telecommunications companies, universities and public services.”