BRITAIN’s spy masters are stopping 60 cyber attacks every week as hackers exploit Covid to wreak havoc across the UK.
The National Cyber Security Centre’s annual report revealed they have dealt with a record 723 attacks in the last year. That is up on 658 last year.
They have defended almost 1,200 victims against the hacks.
And more than a quarter of the attacks were related to coronavirus, with hackers targeting NHS computers, Britain’s world-leading vaccine research.
The NCSC, which is part of GCHQ, received more than 2.3 million reports of malicious emails from the public in just four months since setting up a “Suspicious Reporting Service” during the pandemic that saw criminals trying to scam people out of money and tricking them into passover over sensitive personal data.
Some 22,000 malicious websites were taken down as a result. These coronavirus scams included people pretending to sell PPE equipment to hide a cyber attack.
A survey carried out as part of the annual report found almost half of businesses and a quarter of charities reported cyber security breaches or attacks over a 12-month period.
CYBER ATTACK RISE
Those firms who reported cyber breaches said they were experiencing attacks at least once a week – a rise on 32 per cent last year and 22 per cent in 2017.
NCSC chief executive Lindy Cameron said: “This review outlines the breadth of remarkable work delivered by the NCSC in the past year, largely against a backdrop of the shared global crisis of coronavirus.
“From handling hundreds of incidents to protecting our democratic institutions and keeping people safe while working remotely, our expertise has delivered across multiple frontiers.
“This has all been achieved with the fantastic support of government, businesses and citizens and I would urge them to continue contributing to our collective cyber security.”
Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ, added: “The world changed in 2020 and so did the balance of threats we are seeing.
“As this Review shows, the expertise of the NCSC, as part of GCHQ, has been invaluable in keeping the country safe: enabling us to defend our democracy, counter high levels of malicious state and criminal activity, and protect against those who have tried to exploit the pandemic.
“The years ahead are likely to be just as challenging, but I am confident that in the NCSC we have developed the capabilities, relationships and approaches to keep the UK at the forefront of global cyber security.”
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