Ransomware the most significant cyber threat facing the UK, report finds

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) claims it has fought off a record number of digital intrusions this year driven by a surge in ransomware.

 According to the NCSC, the agency has responded to 777 incidents over a 12-month period ending in September, which is a 7% increase year-on-year. The rise is cases was attributed both to a surge in ransomware cases and hackers targeting the healthcare sector during the pandemic.

Of the 777 incidents the NCSC responded to, 20% were linked to the health sector and Covid-19 vaccines. The centre noted that it aided the University of Oxford’s vaccine researchers in fending off an attempted ransomware attack which had ‘the potential to cause significant disruption to the UK’s pandemic response’.

The agency said it handled the same number of incidents in the first four months of this year than it did in the entirety of 2020, which made ransomware the most significant cyber threat facing the UK this year, according to the report.

NCSC CEO Lindy Cameron remarked that despite this, businesses still aren’t taking ransomware seriously enough, adding that it is the ‘most immediate cybersecurity threat to UK businesses’ and one that she believes should be higher on the boardroom agenda.

The report also stated that supply chain attacks were another key source of work for the center, marked by attacks on Microsoft Exchange servers and SolarWinds. Meanwhile, the report found that China and Russia continue to be the most advanced nations posing a threat in cyberspace.

A recent report by ransomware threat intelligence firm SonicWall has found 2021 will be the most expensive and dangerous year on record for ransomware attacks, with 495 million attacks logged already.

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