Manchester United suffers 'sophisticated' cyber attack by organised crime group

2020-11-23

English club Manchester United confirmed on Friday that they have been hit with a sophisticated cyber attack that appears to be the work of an organised crime group. E5-4655 v4

, the Red Devils revealed that after identifying the attack, the club's IT security staff immediately shut down affected systems to contain the damage and to protect sensitive data. The statement did not go into detail about the attack.

"Although this is a sophisticated operation by organised cyber criminals, the club has extensive protocols and procedures in place for such an event and had rehearsed for this risk," Manchester United said.

The club is currently working with a team of security experts to investigate the incident and to minimise the ongoing IT disruption.

The Premiership club stated that all systems needed for the match remained secure, and no confidential data belonging to fans or employees was compromised in the incident.

Forbes ranks United Manchester as the world's third most valuable football team, with a total valuation of more than £2.9 billion. The two clubs that are said to be ahead of United in terms of valuation are Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

"These type of attacks are becoming more and more common and are something you have to rehearse for," a United spokesperson told .

"While it's too early to declare victory, it appears that the club's preparation for such an incident has paid off."

The news of cyber attack against Manchester United has come at the time when cyber security experts are warning about rising number of ransomware attacks worldwide amid the pandemic.

Earlier this month, UK's National Cyber Security Centre said that  during the 12-month period from September 2019 to August 2020, of which 194 were specifically related to coronavirus.

Last week, security firm Cloudflare said that  observed in Q3 of 2020 increased four times compared to the pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter.

A rise in ransom-driven DDoS attacks (RDDoS) was also noticed in Q3, Cloudflare said, as threat groups like Cozy Bear, Lazarus and Fancy Bear accelerated extortion campaigns targeting businesses worldwide.

Recently, a survey by CrowdStrike also revealed that  than their peers in other parts of the world.

The study found that 39 per cent of UK organisations have suffered a ransomware attack in the last 12 month, and they paid approximately £940,000 ($1.2 million) ransom on average - higher than the global average of $1.1 million.

The average time for UK organisations to identify an intruder also increased from 39 hours in 2019 to 61 hours in 2020, providing attackers a much larger window in which to access confidential information.