Mexican institutions are heavily targeted by cyberattacks

Mexican ministries, public banks, legislative bodies, autonomous entities, as well as public universities report over 45 million attempted cyberattacks during the current administration

Mexican institutions are heavily targeted by cyberattacks
Many Mexican institutions lack IT security - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 19/09/2019 18:11 Pedro Villa y Caña Mexico City Actualizada 18:11
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Since December 1st, 2019, agencies like the Office of the President, the National Defense Ministry (Sedena), Mexico’s Central Bank (Banxico), Mexico’s Supreme Court (SCJN), and the House of Representatives have received over 45 million attempted attacks by hackers to access their databases and steal information.

In response to information requirements by EL UNIVERSAL via transparency, 36 institutions, including ministries, public banks, legislative bodies, autonomous entities, as well as public universities, report 45,009,188 attempts by cybercriminals located in different countries, from the United States and Cuba, to Russia, China, Vietnam, India, and Pakistan.

These agencies asserted that most attempts to violate their security were to no success, because, they said, they have security measures to protect their information.

Presidency registers attacks from China
The office of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador informed that from December 1 until now, it has registered two attacks with origin in China.

The first attack was registered on March 22 and it was cross-site scripting – when a code is put as a hyperlink to lead the user to another website – and the second, spam – an e-mail received without being required – took place on May 3.

The Public Education Ministry (SEP) is the federal agency with more attempts of data theft with 37 million in the first eight months of the current administration. The attacks came mainly from Israel, Spain, the U.S., Argentina, and the U.K.

Behind SEP, came the Federal Police. It detailed that from December 1, 2018 to June 6, 2019 they received 4,357,567 cyberattacks, which came from Russia, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Arab Republic, Malasia, and Japan, among other countries.

In the same period, Sedena reported 4,014 attempts of attack, among them the injection of malicious code, as well as detection and blocking of malicious software.

SRE lacks IT security
Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (SRE) has over 2,300,000 attempts of attacks to its databases since December 1, 2018, which, according to the agency, have not been successful.

SRE specified that last April, Mexico’s embassy in Guatemala suffered data theft, for which a criminal complaint was generated.

In addition, SRE said that these attacks with “advanced techniques” came from illegal places “of the deep web,” installed in countries such as Russia, Cuba, Croatia, and India.

Last September 11, EL UNIVERSAL documented that Mexican diplomatic missions lack IT security, due to a report by the General Board of Information and Innovation Technologies (DGTII) of the SRE that asserted that there are no mechanisms of intruders detection in the curren system, both in offices located in Mexico as well as in Mexico’s Representations Abroad (RME).

Public banks with thousands of reports
Banxico said that during the current administration, they have registered 5,629 attempts of attacks by scanning, denial of service, web attacks, in addition to phishing.

The Army & Air Force National Bank (Banjército) informed that they have received over 340,000 attempts of syn flood cyber attacks.

The National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) avoided delivering information since it is reserved for five years, and said that were it to be made public, these data “could be used by any person to violate the configuration of technological infrastructure.”

A similar argument was given by Casa de Moneda, who said that since it was IT security information “it cannot be shared publicly.”

INE reserves information
In the INE-CT-R-0124 resolution, Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) reserved for the information regarding the number of attacks it has received since the beginning of the current administration for five years.

“To reveal a detailed breakdown of the attempts to violate said systems represents an evident risk in the present and in the future for their stability, for the execution of IT security measures of the INE, and for the democratic governance of the country,” it explained.

The House of Representatives said that since December, it has registered 574 hacking attempts, originated in countries like Saudi Arabia, Romania, Bangladesh, and Czech Republic, while the Senate asserted to have received 205 attempts to steal information from their databases.

Universities are not safe
The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) informed that, due to the great amount of attacks they receive daily, it is not feasible to store a register of each of them; nevertheless, those known correspond to the incidents in the General Direction of Computer Science and Information and Communication Technologies (DGTIC), that has five cases.

The Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) registers 15,442 attacks, and the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) 50,000, from countries like Israel and China.


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