Manchester United Cyber Attack

Manchester United Cyber attack
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“A Cyber Gun to the Head”

The Red Devils were attacked and it is believed that the cyber criminals are holding them to ransom for millions of pounds after hacking into their system. Manchester United released a statement late on Friday, 20 Nov of an attack on their IT systems that took place that very evening. The attack was identified and shut down by the cyber defences set up by the club’s IT team.

It’s rumoured to be a ransomware attack for which the club has neither agreed or denied the claims floating in the media. The attackers have asked for millions of pounds in exchange for not releasing sensitive information with regards to the club and its players. Manchester united have assured that there won’t be any effect on the club’s ability to host the matches and continue in its normal operations. They have continued to host matches at Old Trafford since the cyber attack, West Brom on 21 Nov, Istanbul Basaksehir on 24 Nov and recently  Paris Saint-Germain on Dec 2 without any glitches. 

As per regulations the club have informed the Information Commissioner’s Office(ICO) regarding the attack and have told that none of the club’s supporter’s data is at risk. ICO is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights of UK’s citizens. If there is a leak of the supporters data, the club might be fined up to 2% total annual worldwide turnover by the Information Commissioner’s Office under the UK Data Protection Act (GDPR).

The club has not released any further statements other than reiterating that they are trying to find a solution with the continued help from UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which is the leading UK government body in the space of Cyber Security. NCSC had published a report in July 2020 detailing the threats posed by sports teams in the UK. The report titled “The Cyber Threat to Sports Organisations” is available here.  

The different types of cybersecurity measures an organisation can take to avoid cyber attacks and any other incidents damaging the organisations assets.

  1. Policies and procedures: An organisation must be compliant with the appropriate policies and procedures according to their business operations to safeguard themselves from any loss of data, information and also money
  2. Implementing Strong firewall: A firewall must be implemented to secure the network and monitor incoming and outgoing traffic that comes through and drop unknown or suspicious traffic
  3. Performing Regular tests on the network and system to rule out the presence of any vulnerability: Regular VAPT has to be conducted on the network and system to find out any vulnerabilities and apply the appropriate patches to fix them before the company experiences any kind of cyber attacks. Today, carrying out a penetration test (or two) has become the new normal for most organisations. This is also a compliance requirement as most industries are required to carry out pen tests to be compliant with standards like HIPAA or PCI DSS.
  4. Regular Updates: There are thousands of new viruses. Therefore it is important for an organization to have an updated antivirus and antimalware in place to prevent such viruses from taking control of the system and causing damage to it which in turn will result in loss of assets, money, reputation etc.
  5. Backup:  By having a regular backup of all the valuable data we do not have to worry about losing them. Taking a backup of sensitive data is always a best option.

The digital age and explosion of data we consume and produce have become the new target to be held ransom to be aware and wake up.

As we use more data and the world becomes more digital and dependent on data only a good network and security hygiene might avoid such attack’s.

If your system is compromised or if you would like to be prepared you can contact us at for a free consultation.

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