Last month it emerged that critical healthcare institutions were being targeted by cyber-criminals. This demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic had done little to stem cyber security incidents. If anything, it has actually offered more opportunities to would-be hackers. This past week has seen a spate of cyber-attacks occurring throughout the UK. Targets ranged from supermarket giant Aldi to Elexon, so now is clearly the time to be even more vigilant.
Beware supermarket scams
The Manchester Evening News recently stated that Aldi shoppers were warned about a scam designed to steal their personal details. In exchange for providing their email, WhatsApp, Facebook, or Twitter information, they were promised a web link. This link would enable them to claim free shopping vouchers worth £250. No such promotion was being run by Aldi, with their spokesman urging people to be wary of this type of activity. The experts at CRIBB Cyber Security, part of theICEway ecosystem of companies, couldn’t agree more. Upon hearing about the incident, Patrick Carolan had this to say:
“You have always got to be very cautious whenever something is offered to you in exchange for personal data. It does not matter what the source is. There are some signs that you can watch out for though, such as poor grammar. Mistakes with spelling and punctuation in communications are another indicator. Above all else, it is highly unlikely that any supermarket would ask you for detailed personal information.”
The Elexon cyber-attack
On Friday 15th May, Forbes featured a story about a cyber-attack on Elexon. Fortunately, the incident failed to have an impact beyond their internal IT systems. Elexon is a core part of the energy supply market here in the UK. It oversees extremely high-value transactions between the electricity providers and power station operators. This makes it easy to see why they would be targeted.
Further details on the attack were unavailable at the time of writing. A Tweet from Elexon on Thursday 14th May however confirmed that they were unable to send or receive emails. A subsequent bulletin then revealed that only their systems and laptops had been affected. Once again we asked Patrick for his thoughts and he was sombre about the matter:
“The Elexon attack is more proof that critical infrastructure is a very attractive target for hackers. There isn’t a huge amount of information about this incident yet but I hope it isn’t ransomware. If it is, the company could be facing a long road to recovery.”
Security by design
CRIBB Cyber Security provides end-to-end cyber resilience for clients in healthcare, cruise, travel, and retail. Our expert team adopts a ‘Security by Design’ approach wherever possible. We are aware of the fact that a reactive stance is sometimes required. That is why we have put together a wide range of products and services that are all designed to help you minimise cyber security incidents.
We are very proud to state that we have successfully guided 100% of our clients into compliance.
BE CAREFUL – BE DEFENSIVE – BE COMPLIANT – BE SECURE
COVID-19 – Caused by Coronavirus, this is a new illness that affects the lungs and airways
Elexon – Otherwise known as the company that facilitates payments on the electricity market here
Security by Design – A concept where something is designed from the foundation to be secure
As Patrick stated above, there are tell-tale signs to look out for if you suspect that there might be a scam afoot; always exercise caution whenever you are asked for your personal information. Always check for spelling mistakes, poor grammar, even the way you are addressed within a communication. From the outset, take a step back before you act, and ask yourself whether or not the request seems genuine – for example, would a supermarket really offer £250 to all of its customers?