The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has dealt with a record number of foiled cyber attacks over the past year, IFSEC Global reports. The latest figures reveal that it prevented 777 incidents, compared to 723 in 2020.
Worryingly, 20% of these were linked to the healthcare service, including the Covid-19 vaccination programme. In particular, the NHS and vaccine suppliers have been targeted with malicious links. Attackers have been persistently trying to exploit security loopholes where IT services are thought not to be a high priority.
Lindy Cameron, CEO of the NCSC, said that she believed the most immediate threat was posed by ransomware. The devasting effects of an attack on a business are financial, but also result in a loss of customer trust and regard in the sector. She commented:
“I’m proud of the way the NCSC has responded to what has been another hugely challenging year for the country as we all continue to navigate our way through the pandemic. The support and expertise we have provided for stakeholders from government all the way through to the general public during the pandemic has been vital to keeping the country safe online.”
She added: “Undoubtedly there are challenges ahead, but the upcoming National Cyber Strategy combined with the continued engagement from businesses and the public provides a solid foundation for us to continue reducing the impact of online threats.”
In response to the continuing rise in cybercrime, the cyber security landscape is also adapting quickly. It is predicted by Consultancy UK that firms will be increasing their cyber security budgets by an average of 8.4%, for example, over the coming year.
Despite this, 41% of respondents in a survey felt that their organisation didn’t fully understand the priorities of cyber investment.
The article also reports on speculation that paying ransomware attackers may be made illegal in the US. Surprisingly, it is not illegal to pay ransom demands to cybercriminals in the US or the UK at the moment, which only emboldens the attackers. Payments are discouraged, but not banned, and criminals can exploit this to increase their revenue.
The situation is not helped by the fact that many firms have cyber insurance policies which cover the costs of a ransomware pay out. This may change in the future, with insurers deciding to only cover the costs of the fallout from the incident, rather than reimburse the cost of the ransom payment.
Higher insurance premiums for companies without adequate IT security systems are also likely to be the case in the near future. There will be more emphasis on the prevention of risk, and companies will need to review their IT security infrastructure to make sure it is as strong as it could be.
Finally, as we are once more under a ‘work from home’ instruction from the government, there will be more focus on remote work security in 2022. People are ever more reliant on their home broadband for work communications, as well as personal admin chores, and even household security such as alarmed doorbells and timed light switches.
It is likely that new security solutions will emerge in 2022 to tackle all the new problems that the upheaval of the last two years has wrought.
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