Ransomware attacks surge across UK, new report finds

Ransomware attacks against public and private sector bodies in the UK have surged in recent years, according to a new report by the government’s cyber security agency.

The National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) 2021 annual review (88-page/6.03MB PDF) found that there were three times as many ransomware attacks - where hackers extort organisations for the return of stolen data - in the first quarter of 2021 than in the whole of 2019.

The report also warned that the high levels of home working prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic meant criminals were increasingly able to use 'off-the-shelf' malware to exploit unpatched software and weaknesses in VPNs to access organisations' sensitive data.