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Ransomware Threats Doubled During the First Six Months of 2021

Mon Aug 16 2021

Findings show that victims of a cyber-threat are likely to be targeted again.

According to a new analysis by the British cyber security and data analytics firm Cybsafe, ransomware incidents reported to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the first half of 2021 is double compared to similar incidents reported in the first half of 2020.

The results of the study show that 22 percent of all cyber incidents reported to the ICO in the first six months of 2021 were ransomware attacks – up form 11 percent from the previous year.

What is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a fee is paid. It is usually targeted towards individuals.

Phishing is the major cause of all the cyber breaches reported in the first half of the year, making up an eye watering 40 percent of all cyber incidents.

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To combat this threat, we need to move beyond box-ticking awareness exercises and appreciate the human aspect of cyber security if we want to experience genuine behavioural change. These behaviours are the foundation of our defence against such malicious threats and will only grow in their importance over the coming years.

Oz Alashe, Cybsafe CEO

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Education Sector Hit Hardest

The analysis shows the education sector has been hit hardest during the course of the pandemic due to the increased reliance on online schooling. Ransomware attacks accounted for a third (32 percent) of all cyber incidents targeting schools and universities in the first half of 2021, up 11 percent from a year ago.

As result of these attacks, many schools and colleges have lost coursework, financial records and COVID-19 testing data.

To give a real-world example of this, earlier this month six schools on the Isle of Wight were targeted by a ransomware attack which encrypted their key data. In March, Birmingham College’s core IT system was brought down by a major ransomware attack.

In May 2020, nearly 20 UK-based universities and charities were hit in a global ransomware attack instigated by those targeting US-based cloud computing provider Blackbaud.

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Mon Aug 16 2021

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