Nov 3, 2020

More than one in four UK cyber attacks related to Covid-19

More than a quarter of all cyber incidents detected by UK spies in the past year involved criminals and hostile states exploiting the coronavirus pandemic, a new report has revealed. The statistics, published on Tuesday in the annual report of the National Cyber Security Centre - a branch of signals intelligence agency GCHQ - reveal the scale of the threat to Britain's healthcare sector from the global pandemic: criminals tried to profit from public fear, the NHS became a target for hackers and UK vaccine research evolved as a new espionage risk. According to the NCSC, UK spies detected 723 incidents in the year to September, of which 194, or 27 per cent, related to coronavirus. The NCSC said the majority of incidents related to health were perpetrated by cyber criminals, and that it had disrupted "Thousands" of attempts to trick internet users, from fake emails promoting protective equipment and testing kits to offers of sham key worker badges which would entitle people to supermarket discounts. More serious threats also emerged: security officials revealed in July that a Russian hacking group known as APT 29, or "Cozy Bear" was targeting UK organisations involved in vaccine development.

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