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UK businesses have reported a significant fall in cyber attacks over the last 12 months. The proportion identifying breaches or attacks in the least year was 32 per cent, compared with 43 per cent in 2018 and 46 per cent in 2017, according to a survey of 1,566 businesses by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (PDF). Those figures echo the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which found that between September 2017 and September 2018, the number of computer misuse incidents among individuals fell from 1.5 million to 1 million. This was driven, according to Office for National Statistics data, by a significant reduction in computer viruses (down by 45 per cent over the same period). However, the DCMS report said other factors could be at play such as more investment in cybersecurity, better compliance due to GDPR, or a change in attack behaviour. For example, those carrying out cyber attacks could be focusing on a narrower (though still numerous) set of businesses. This fits with another broad trend in the survey showing that, among the 32 per cent of businesses that did identify breaches or attacks, the median number they recall facing has gone up, from two attacks in 2017 to six in 2019. Of those targeted, phishing attacks were the most common, with 80 per cent having been subject to email scams, while 27 per cent said they had been hit by viruses, spyware or malware. However, Ken Munro of Pen Test Partners said there are too many variables to make the findings conclusive. "Are the number of antivirus reports down because organisations (rightly) don't consider them to be attacks/breaches or incidents? Or is it because the antivirus products aren't detecting the types of malware that are being used now?" He added: "Without analysing the quality of phishing attacks, the data is also meaningless. Are untargeted phishing attempts being filtered out upstream? "I don't think anything can be concluded from the report other than that 'cyber stuff is still happening and some businesses are taking it more seriously'.
chain posted a topic in NewsA Georgia state agency confirmed that a cyberattack has brought offline some court websites. According to local media, hackers infected the systems of the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts with ransomware, “News outlets report hackers demanding a ransom infected computers with malware at the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts.” reported the Associated Press. “Agency spokesman Bruce Shaw said Monday that officials have “quarantined our servers and shut off our network to the outside.” The Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts provides services to some local probate and municipal courts. The website of the agency (www.georgiacourts.org) was offline earlier this week, while the websites for the Georgia Supreme Court and court clerks in the larger counties of the state were up and running. “Hackers have infected computers at a Georgia courts agency, demanding a ransom payment and causing officials to shut down court websites.” reported the AJC website. “The Administrative Office of the Courts was offline Monday as the state government tried to contain the hack.” At the time of writing, it wasn’t clear the extent of the attack in term of impacted Georgia courts and interference with ordinary operations. Agency spokesman Bruce Shaw pointed out that users’ data were not exposed because the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts doesn’t users details apart from information in public court documents. “Personal information wasn’t compromised because the agency doesn’t keep that information, said Michelle Barclay, a division director for the Administrative Office of the Courts.” concludes the AJC website. “Everything is shut down until they tell us to turn it on,” Barclay said. “We’re definitely inconveniencing folks who rely on our applications.” The attack was discovered during the weekend, experts believe it was launched from a foreign country. The attackers sent an email to the agency with instructions to contact them, the message didn’t specify a ransom amount. This incident follows other similar attacks on government systems, such as the one that hit the city of Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. County and state courts were operational, but they were unable to access information provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts, Allen said. He didn’t know how long it will take to recover from the attack.