The UK National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has reported a significant increase in the number of cyberattacks targeted at British universities and research organizations. Cybercriminals attack the developers of a vaccine against coronavirus infection (COVID-19).We wrote that the pandemic created favorable conditions for cybercriminals, but here the talk is about large-scale industrial and state espionage. Cybercriminals acting under the protection of foreign government agencies, in particular Russia, China and Iran, and are actively attacking researchers to steal important biotechnological data.
“Any attack against efforts to combat the coronavirus crisis is utterly reprehensible. We have seen an increased proportion of cyber-attacks related to coronavirus and our experts work around the clock to help organizations targeted”, — said NCSC representative.
According to The Guardian, dozens of medical institutions are currently researching COVID-19, so attackers are trying to steal any valuable information related to the activities of scientists. According to the recent reports, there was no successful attacks.
NCSC works closely with Oxford University specialists, involved in development of vaccine against coronavirus.
Despite the increased number of cyberattacks, the total number of cybersecurity-related incidents in the UK during the pandemic did not increase. James Sullivan, a former cyber-analyst for the National Crime Agency and head of cyber research at the Royal United Services Institute, the international defense and security thinktank, said it was not surprising that hostile states were targeting Covid-19 research.
“As we’ve seen with cyber-attacks, whether it’s a hostile nation state or an organized criminal, there’s no real boundaries to the types of data they try to steal, so why would this be any different regarding the development of a vaccine is a very competitive and demanding area? We’re seeing those geopolitical tensions played out in this space”, — explained James Sullivan.
Researchers noted an increase in cybercrime activity during the pandemic last month. For example, in April, U.S. FBI Assistant Director Tonya Ugoretz reported about drastic surge in the number of cybercriminal attacks and hacking of systems of some institutions that have publicly announced work on COVID-19 and studies on creation of a vaccine.
Zscaler cloud security company experts report that the number of attacks associated with the coronavirus pandemic has increased by a record 30,000%. Additionally, Maze operators attacked medical company, which is currently testing vaccine for COVID-19.
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