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The UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Center battled a record number of digital break-ins last year, driven by a surge in ransomware and hackers targeting the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a 12-month period ending in September, the agency responded to 777 incidents, an increase of more than 7%. said the center in its November 17th annual report.

Ransomware kept the center busy, with officials handling the same number of incidents in the first four months of 2021 as they did in all of 2020, even tripling the number in 2019. This made ransomware “the UK’s major cyber threat”. this year, ”says the report. Still, companies don’t take it seriously enough National cybersecurity center CEO Lindy Cameron wrote.

“I think it is now the most immediate cybersecurity threat facing UK businesses and one that I believe should be higher on the boardroom agenda,” she said.

The agency’s admonitions reflect the efforts of U.S. government officials who started to apply official regulations and legislative pressure on the industry to take action against ransomware fueled by high profile attacks on Colonial Pipeline, JBS and Kaseya this summer.

Health threats were another major challenge facing the UK agency. Of the 777 incidents it responded to, 20% were related to the health sector and COVID-19 vaccines.

The ransomware threat sometimes invaded this sector, with the center assisting Oxford University vaccine researchers in repelling an attempted ransomware attack “which could seriously disrupt the UK’s pandemic response”.

Supply chain attacks were another major source of work for the center, marked by the attacks on Microsoft Exchange servers and the US federal contractor SolarWinds. China and Russia, each blamed by the US for these attacks, remain the most advanced nations to pose a threat in cyberspace, the report said.

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