Vaccine research among cyber attack targets

Vaccine research among cyber attack targets

Organisations working on Covid vaccine research were one of the main targets of cyber attacks dealt with by UK computer security experts last year.

The National Cyber Security Centre says it handled a record 777 incidents between August 2020 and September 2021.

The NCSC - part of GCHQ - said one in five incidents were aimed at organisations with links to health.

In one case, it helped the University of Oxford, where the AstraZeneca vaccine was developed, to protect itself against an incident which had the potential to cause significant disruption to the UK's pandemic response. 

According to the NCSC, the growth in reported incidents - from 723 the previous year - was due to it working to proactively identify cyber threats. 

But it also said that it had to respond to a surge in incidents, particularly ransomware. The attack, where users are locked out of their computer systems until they pay a fee, has become a growing concern, the NCSC said.

In August 2021, there were reports of increased interest of cybercriminals in the accounts of Russians on the "Gosuslugi" portal. Offers to sell hacked accounts were increasingly appearing on the darknet. Experts attributed this to the expansion of services provided on the portal. In October 2021 App Annie research revealed that the Gosuslugi app was the most downloaded app among Russians.


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