Ransomware and Covid-related cybercrime ‘biggest threats to UK security’ | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


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ansomware attacks present “the most immediate danger” to the UK, the head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has said, with cyber attacks linked to the Covid-19 pandemic also likely to be prevalent for many years to come.

Lindy Cameron warned that cybercriminals and other malicious actors continue to see ransomware as an “attractive route” as long as firms do not adequately protect themselves or agree to pay the ransom when attacked – something the NCSC has encouraged companies not to do.

Ms Cameron was speaking at Chatham House’s Cyber 2021 Conference and marking her first year in the post of chief executive at the NCSC, warning that businesses need to do more to protect themselves.

Ransomware is a form of cyber attack which locks files and data on a user’s computer and demands payment in order for them to be released back to the owner and has been used as part of a number of high-profile cyber attacks in recent years, including the 2017 attack on the NHS.

“Ransomware presents the most immediate danger to UK businesses and most other organisations,” she said.

We expect ransomware will continue to be an attractive route for criminals as long as organisations remain vulnerable and continue to pay

“Many organisations – but not enough – routinely plan and prepare for this threat, and have confidence their cybersecurity and contingency planning could withstand a major incident. But many have no incident response plans, or ever test their cyber defences.

“We expect ransomware will continue to be an attractive route for criminals as long as organisations remain vulnerable and continue to pay. We have been clear that paying ransoms emboldens these criminal groups – and it also does not guarantee your data will be returned intact, or indeed returned at all.”

Ms Cameron also warned that criminals and state-backed groups will continue to use the pandemic as a vehicle for cyber attack – whether it be to target information around vaccines or by stoking fears to carry out scams.

“The coronavirus pandemic continues to cast a significant shadow on cybersecurity and is likely to do so for many years to come,” she said.

“Malicious actors continue to try and access Covid-related information, whether that is data on new variants or vaccine procurement plans.



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