Manchester United Turns Off Systems to Defend Sophisticated Cyberattack
What can an Organisation do if faced with a Cyberattack?
Cybercriminals are attacking the computer networks and systems of individuals, businesses, and even global organizations at a time when cyber defenses might be lowered due to the shift of focus to the health crisis. Sometimes even a football club like Manchester United can fall as the victim.
With organizations and businesses rapidly deploying remote systems and networks to support staff working from home, criminals are also taking advantage of increased security vulnerabilities to steal data, generate profits, and cause disruption.
The increased online dependency for people worldwide is also creating new opportunities, with many businesses and individuals not making sure their cyber defenses are up to date.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the cybercrime landscape has changed, increasing the number of attacks. There have been various cyberattacks noticed, including scams and phishing, disruptive malware, data harvesting malware, malicious domains, and misinformation.
From February to March 2020, a 569% growth in malicious registrations, including malware and phishing, and a 788% increase in high-risk registrations were identified and reported during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 30% of countries that responded to the global cybercrime survey confirmed the circulation of false information related to COVID-19. Within one month, one country reported 290 postings, with the majority containing concealed malware.
Cybercriminals are targeting businesses and attacking leading sports teams in terms of generating revenues and being profitable. If their cybersecurity is not strong enough, the attack might lead them to destruction from where standing again looks impossible.
With a total valuation of over USD 3.8 billion, the third most valuable soccer team globally, Manchester United, announced on Friday that hackers had breached its network. The club acknowledged the incident in a statement describing it as a “sophisticated operation by organized cybercriminals.” Attacked systems were immediately shut down to defend against the attack.
Although the forensic investigation is still in the early stages, the club doesn’t believe that any personal data belonging to employees or customers had been accessed. Most of the club’s digital operations, including the Manchester United website, app, and streaming media, were not impacted.
The club’s spokesperson said that these types of attacks were becoming more common and were something one has to rephrase for. It’s too early to declare victory, though it appears that the club’s preparation for such a mishap has paid off.
Cyberattacks like the one on Manchester United do not occur just like that. Hackers have to spend months laying the groundwork, frequently using a single infected system to analyze a potential victim’s network.
The longer it takes to identify the intrusion, the more likely it becomes that the attack will succeed. Such breachers are not the work of hackers looking for a quick payday. Criminals who intend to extract payments that will significantly impact a company’s next quarterly earnings report execute hackers with elite skills.