UK government warns of ‘significant’ ransomware risk for businesses

Mar 15, 2017

Screen shot 2017 03 15 at 10.08.49

Devices such as smartphones, fitness trackers, TVs and watches could hold people to ransom over their data, according to a new report from the Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The new report says the cyber threat to UK business is "significant and growing" as the rise of internet connected devices gives attackers more opportunity.

It forecasts that ransomware attacks will target devices containing photos, emails and even fitness information. According to Gartner, as many as 21 billion devices used by businesses and consumers around the world are predicted to be connected to the internet by 2020.

"This data may not be inherently valuable, and might not be sold on criminal forums but the device and data will be sufficiently valuable to the victim that they will be willing to pay for it," says the report.

The impact of attacks on smaller businesses is often disproportionate to technical skill, as easy access to cyber capabilities such as ransomware and DDoS is becoming more prevalent. A key problem is that there is no clear understanding of the true scale and cost of cyber attacks to the UK as these are under-reported.

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