More than a quarter of all cyber-attacks handled by Britain’s cyber-security agency in the past year involved criminals and hostile states exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report has revealed.
Between Sept. 1, 2019, and Aug. 31, 2020, the NCSC handled 723 incidents, with 194 related to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which caused the COVID-19 pandemic.
These included both cyber criminals looking to exploit public fear over the pandemic with virus-related online scams and hostile states targeting vaccine research.
The NCSC provided support for the health care sector this year by scanning more than 1 million IP addresses in the National Health Service (NHS) for vulnerabilities, which led to the detection of 51,000 indicators of compromise, the report said.
He said the NCSC’s expertise “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 UK government has repeatedly warned against attempts by hostile states, including China, to steal vaccine research from Western institutions.
It followed the U.S. indictment of two Chinese hackers for stealing millions of dollars worth of trade secrets and other sensitive information, and attempting to steal research on COVID-19.