U.K. Government 'Ill-Prepared' to Deal With High Risk of Catastrophic Ransomware Attacks

U.K. Government 'Ill-Prepared' to Deal High Risk of Catastrophic Ransomware AttacksA new report from the U.K. government’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS) outlines both just how likely an attack on critical national infrastructure is and where they are vulnerable.

The impact of a coordinated cyberattack on the U.K.’s national infrastructure could impact millions of citizens within its country, according to the JCNSS’s report A hostage to fortune: ransomware and UK national security. The report uses a 2022 attack on the government of Costa Rica where online tax collection, public healthcare and the pay of some public sector workers was disrupted. 

According to the report, the likelihood of such a coordinated attack on the U.K.’s critical national infrastructure (CNI) is between 5% and 25% with a “moderate” impact (for context, a major contamination of UK food supply is considered this level of impact, making “moderate” pretty damning!).

Despite this, the report spells out that parts of the U.K.’s CNI are using legacy systems and operational technologies, with the National Health Service being “particularly vulnerable.”

At a governmental level, the report calls for improvements in policy and strategy, oversight and ownership over how the CNI will ensure new policies are enforced, and united leadership and political will.

U.K. organizations that fall within the realm of CNI, much take far more practical steps to ensure they remain secure steps that include a robust layered cybersecurity defense (that includes new-school security awareness training), an effective method of attack detection, and an efficient and exacting response to neutralize and mitigate threats.

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