All government and non-government departments were put on high Alert on Friday 25 January 2019 to be aware of a cyber breach and to take defensive actions to protect their networks. The worldwide suspected attack was thought to be taking place from Iran’s side. A stern warning was given by National Cyber Security Headquarters (NCSC) and is investigating a “Large scale cyber-attack that has already affected many government/non-government organizations”.
The Cyber-attack was focused on the extraction of sensitive data by the black hat hackers. The Main focus was on the Middle East region but eventually spread out to Europe and North-America.
The NCSC has given technical warnings to departments regarding the cyber-attack, to monitor their systems if any suspicious activities are seen and check their system files haven’t been compromised. NCSC has said that till now systems are not affected in United Kingdom.
NCSC is working with other intelligence organizations including the U.S department of Homeland Security which also gives directives to organizations throughout the United States.
The goal of the cyber-attack is mainly espionage. Fire Eye was one of the first organizations to highlight the issue. According to Fire Eye one of the top organizations in cyber security knowledge and equipment stated that the attack was meant to tap all email, user traffic and credentials of the targeted agencies.
A senior manager “Ben Reed” of the Fire eye organization stated to the Washington Post that “Iran was behind the campaign, it would want to know what the foreign ministries in the Gulf are deciding”.
NCSC stated “We are aware of a cyber incident affecting some Domain Name Systems (DNS) registrars and are working with our international and industry partners to understand its nature and extent, and the potential threat, if any, to the UK.”
It was said that till date the breach has effected almost 50 organizations in 12 countries, this is what is reported till now. Great Britain has been affected by several cyber-attacks the worst of which was 2017. The 2017 attack on Britain was a ransomware attack that affected several medical institutes. It was called WANNACRY which was said to be done by the North Koreans. The KASPERSKY LAB’s stated that the WANACRY attack effected initially 45000 users in almost 99 countries. The major effected countries were Russia, UK Ukraine, India, China, Italy, and Egypt. Which also included 20,000 cancellation of operations and appointments.