Coronavirus: “Dangerous” State-Supported Hacker Networks Explain Crisis To Steal Data


Hostile state-sponsored criminal gangs are launching cyberattacks on British health, drug and medical research centers that fight coronaviruses, the government has revealed.

Cybersecurity agencies in the United Kingdom and the United States have issued a joint warning to expert staff, urging them to improve password security as they fight Covid-19.

Russia, China and Iran were suspected of being behind the attacks – and targeting Britain during the pandemic was “particularly dangerous and venal,” said Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.

Speaking at press conference No10, he blamed “sophisticated hacker networks” for hitting British installations.

Raab said, “Our teams have identified campaigns targeting health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, research organizations, as well as various different branches of local government.

“There are various objectives and motivations behind these attacks, from fraud on the one hand to espionage.

“But they tend to be designed to steal mass personal data, intellectual property and broader information that support these purposes, and they are often linked to other state actors.

“We expect this type of predatory criminal behavior to continue and evolve in the weeks and months to come, and we are taking a series of steps to combat the threat.”

Earlier, the National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) of the United Kingdom and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a notice inviting staff to replace passwords with words created with three random words and implement two-factor authentication on accounts to reduce the threat of compromise.

Agencies say they have seen a number of “password spraying” attacks, where hackers attempt to gain access to a large number of accounts using known passwords, targeting healthcare and health care organizations. other medical groups.

The two bodies said they believed criminals were targeting these organizations in the hopes of gathering information about the coronavirus epidemic.

Paul Chichester, Director of Operations at NCSC, said, “Protecting the healthcare sector is the top priority for the NCSC right now, and we are working closely with the NHS to keep their systems secure.

“By giving priority to any request for support from health organizations and by staying in close contact with the industries involved in the response to coronaviruses, we can inform them of any malicious activity and take the necessary measures to help them defend themselves.”

“But we cannot do it alone, and we recommend that policy makers and health care researchers take our steps to defend against password-spraying campaigns.” “

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Last month, the NCSC launched its suspicious email reporting service, following an increase in the number of Covid-19-related email scams, which allow the public to forward emails directly to the center to report suspected scams.

In its first week, the NCSC reported that the service had received more than 25,000 reports, which resulted in the removal of 395 fraudulent websites.

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Coronavirus epidemic

Bryan Ware, Assistant Director of Cybersecurity at CISA, said he prioritizes his services to healthcare organizations and other medical groups involved in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, so that these companies can focus on their response to the virus.

“The trusted and ongoing cybersecurity collaboration that CISA has with the NCSC and its industrial partners plays a vital role in protecting the public and organizations, especially during this time when health organizations are working at their peak capacity.” “, did he declare.


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