Posted on November 4, 2020 at 5:28 PM
The UK government security arm revealed that cyber attackers are currently launching a series of Covid-based attacks on the U.K.
This is coming from the UK’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) annual report. According to the security agency, more than 50% of the attacks it stopped were based on covid-19.
Sudden rise in Covid-19 related attacks
The NCSC released the report after investigating about 723 major security issues. According to the report, which covered issues from September 2019 to August this year, 194 of the investigated cases were related to the pandemic.
Based on the reported figures, the number of cyberattacks increased by a fifth from last year, which has been unprecedented in the U.K.
As a result of the findings, the agency has advised individuals and organizations to tighten their security and use high standard security measures to protect their accounts from hackers.
To reduce the number of coronavirus cases, the U.K government is making use of all channels to target, detect, and eliminate any source of the virus. Since the government also involved the use of online facilities, the hackers are taking advantage to deceive and exploit their victims.
Rising cases of Covid-based attacks in the U.K
Hackers are always looking for more opportunities and avenues to exploit internet users. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has allowed many of them to launch a series of cyberattacks on victims, taking advantage of their fears.
The U.S seems to be their most favored base when the number of coronavirus infections was in record numbers. However, the last few weeks have seen cases in the U.K rising.
The hackers are now using the opportunity to launch all sorts of attacks on systems using coronavirus themes. Some even impersonate the U.K government and other established renowned organizations to make their campaign seem genuine.
Hackers are inciting public fear to make their victims not to think twice before clicking their malware-infested links. Many of the threat actors put up a public scare because they gain and benefit from the outcome.
One of the revelations of the investigation shows that some of the hackers are fronting vaccine research to deceive their targets into falling victims to their cyber espionage. The hackers also made the NHS their favorite target.
Earlier this week, the U.S. federal agents issued a publication about the threat posed by cybercriminals. According to the threat alert, the attackers are targeting health organizations who are actively fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The effect of the attack could be huge, as it could cripple the entire computer networks, according to the warnings by the U.S. federal agents.
A busy year for NCSC in cybercrime prevention
The NCNC has always been at the forefront of combating and stopping cyber threats in the U.K. But this year has been unusually very busy for the agency, with the increased number of attacks following the coronavirus outbreak.
The agency has appointed a new chief executive Lindy Cameron to restate its commitment to support the critical institutions affected by the new hacking operations.
After news spread about the increased number of pandemic-based cyber attacks, the NCSC has always been upfront to protect NHS organizations by looking for potential weak points for the attackers. The agency found 160 critical and high-risk vulnerabilities left exposed to the threat actors.
But some threat actors have raised their game and are now using more sophisticated hacking tools to hack into major U.K. health care institutions.
NCSC intensifies efforts to protect organizations
Cozy Bear or APT 29 is the name of the most dangerous hacking group. The hacking syndicate is trying to interfere in the development of the Covid-19 vaccine currently going on in the U.K. They are sophisticated because the group is backed by state sponsors and provided with sophisticated tools.
With the current level of the coronavirus pandemic, any organization or nation who first successfully produced a vaccine for the pandemic will benefit tremendously, considering the number of people who are infected every day. According to Financial Times, It is on this basis the state-backed hackers want to intrude and get enough information from NHS.
But the NCSC has also intensified efforts to carry out massive sensitization and awareness campaigns on the operational method of the group and how health organizations can protect themselves.