International Threat Intelligence and Info-Sharing Surges in 2017

With cybersecurity a global issue, organizations worldwide are sharing information and threat intelligence—which usually requires language translations. In the last year, those translations have surged by triple digits, indicating robust information-sharing practices amid several notable cybercrime incidents.

A new examination by One Hour Translation shows that there is a dramatic rise in the volume of knowledge that foreign organizations are tapping from the English-speaking world. An analysis of around 71,000 cyber-related translation projects uncovered a 280% surge in cybersecurity translations from English in the first half of 2017. On top of that, there was a sharp rise in the demand for cyber-related translations to some surprising languages.

The most popular target languages for translations from English were: Danish (21% of the projects); German (19%); French (11%); Simplified Mandarin (10%); Italian (9%); Dutch, Japanese and Russian (5% each); European Spanish (4%); Turkish, Traditional Mandarin (3% each); Brazilian Portuguese (2%); Korean and Latin American Spanish (1% for each language).

One Hour Translation found that most languages saw a growth in the number of translation projects in the second half of 2016, which continued into 2017. The number of projects translated from English to Danish for instance grew a whopping 1,636%, with others standing out: Dutch (899%); Japanese (784%); Russian (634%); Italian (609%); Korean (412%); German (391%); Simplified Mandarin (382%) and French (145%).

The firm said that, interestingly, the surge in the demand for translations into Danish is linked to the Danish Defense Minister’s warning that Danish hospitals and energy infrastructure are exposed to cyber warfare from Russia. In April 2017, the Danish government’s Center for Cybersecurity reported that Danish Foreign and Defense Ministries email accounts and servers were under constant cyber-attacks in 2015 and 2017. Another prominent Danish incident was the Petya ransomware, which paralyzed Danish transport and logistics giant Maersk.

As for Dutch, one unusual factor behind the surge in the demand for cybersecurity translations was the Global Threat Intelligence Report, published by NTT Security in April 2017. The report estimated that 38% of the world’s phishing attacks come from the Netherlands. Another factor was a wave of DDoS attacks by groups of Turkish hackers in March 2017 on prominent Dutch websites such as NL Times, Rumag and Versio hosted sites; and a credential compromise that affected 20,000.

The dramatic surge in translations into Japanese is also not coincidental, the firm said. For example, a Kyodo News survey found that in 2016 alone, cyberattacks on Japanese companies caused 12.6 million leaks, compared to 2.07 million in 2015. At least 600 targets in Japan were hit by the massive WannaCry ransomware attack that hit more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries in May 2017; the severity of the threat was further illustrated when at the end of June, Honda Motor announced that it was forced to temporarily shut down operations at the Sayama Automobile Plant near Tokyo (which produces the Honda Accord, Odyssey and Step Wagon) because of WannaCry’s damage to Honda’s computer network.

Meanwhile Russia, which is considered the source of many cyber-attacks, is itself seeing increased incidents. For example, at the end of June 2017, Group IB, a Russian cybersecurity company, reported that a large Petya ransomware attack had hit major Russian targets including airports, banks, and Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft.

Another illustration of the close connection between dramatic political events and cyber-security translations can be seen in Turkey. The failed coup attempt against Turkey's President Erdogan resulted in the administration taking a series of steps to consolidate his regime and Turkey's physical and digital infrastructures—a move that has been reflected in a significant investment in cyber-defense, including  a move by the National Intervention Center Against Cyber Attacks (USOM) to recruit thousands of highly skilled young people.

"Our survey shows that governments and companies from all over the world are equipping themselves with the best insights available in the English-speaking world in order to prepare for the rise in cybersecurity threats,” said Yaron Kaufman, co-founder and CMO of One Hour Translation. “This is reflected in the geographic distribution of demand for translations. When countries are particularly affected by cybersecurity incidents, or where cyber-events are prominent in national public discourse, such as in Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan and Russia, we have seen that these countries have dramatically increased the demand for translations that will help them tackle the cyber-defense challenges.”

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