The number of cyber incidents of high and medium importance in Lithuania increased by 40 percent last year, the country's Defense Ministry revealed in a report on Wednesday.
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According to the annual cyber security report prepared by the Defense Ministry's National Cyber Security Centre (NKSC), the total number of cyber incidents in Lithuania remained unchanged in 2018 compared to 2017.

However, the report states that the number of "cyber incidents of high and medium importance" has increased by 40 percent in 2018.

"Cyber attacks and incidents have become more complex, their nature was much different," said Edvinas Kerza, Lithuania's deputy defense minister, while commenting on the findings to local media.

According to Kerza, in 2018, Lithuania saw around 30 distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, mostly using Internet of Things (IOT) devices.

Hackers are predominantly interested in public sector authority websites, said Kerza, highlighting the foreign ministry, embassies and the national defense system.

NKSC has investigated around 52,000 - or almost all - such websites in Lithuania. The report states that around half of these sites are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

"The situation is really sad, around 50 percent or more websites can be easily hacked," said Kerza.

On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry announced the main findings of its annual cyber security report. The full report will be made public on Friday, it said.

Lithuania, a small Baltic state on North Atlantic Treaty Organization's eastern flank, has to cope with an increasing number of cyber threats amid security tensions in eastern Europe.

Since 2014, the country has stepped up its defense spending and defense capabilities citing security threats in the region.

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