Cyber attacks against Finland rose more than 2,800% in the days prior to U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s summit, cybersecurity researchers say.
Analysis of the attacks, released last week by U.S.-based threat intelligence company F5, revealed a massive spike just four days before the Helsinki meeting.
F5 indicates that hackers focused largely on poorly-secured Internet of Things (IoT) devices in an attempt to glean information regarding the high-stakes event.
“Finland is not typically a top attacked country; it receives a small number of attacks on a regular basis,” F5 notes.
The report found that among nation-state hackers, China carried out the largest percentage of 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 accounted for 34 percent of attacks, while the U.S., which came in at second place, made up only 12 percent.
Russia, who is normally placed in third, dropped to fifth as the summit approached.
“Given that the targeted meeting included Putin, it is not surprising that Russia would back off their attacks,” F5 said. “Noticeably, Italy and Germany jumped from their 13th and 14th positions into the 4th and 7th positions respectively during the Trump-Putin traffic spike.”
F5 reported a similar spike during Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which found Russian hackers showing the most interest in Singapore’s technical infrastructure.
“Using technology—most specifically, IoT devices—to target people of interest or spy on large portions of populations isn’t new,” F5 said. “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.”