By Cameron Abbott and Ella Richards
Over 100 million cyber-attacks have hit London’s top tourist attractions over the past few years, signalling hackers turning their attention to the treasure trove of customer’s personal data and related opportunities for ransomware attacks.
Kew Gardens experienced an incredible 86 million attacks during 2018 and has seen a 438% increase in attacks year-on-year. Personal and financial details of over 100,000 of its members and over 800 staff are highly sought after, with 82 million spyware attempts and 1.6 million information-stealing attempts last financial year alone. Although Kew Gardens have performed admirably in mitigating the attacks, a major server breach in 2017-2018 and an incident involving a compromised email address managed to slip through.
Imperial War Museum was the next highest target; with over 10 million cyber security incidents spread over three years and 8 successful ransomware attacks within that time. The Natural History Museum tallied 875,414 cyber-attacks over three years, of which 26,610 were considered ‘unmitigated’ threats.
Lastly, Tate Gallery (which oversees the Tate Modern Tate Britain Galleries) was subject to 494,709 attacks last year alone, however only four attacks featuring malware and phishing software were successful.
These attacks demonstrate hacker’s increasing focus on personal and financial data, which tourist hotspots and museums collect in enormous volumes on a daily basis. Sheila Flavell (COO of FDM Group) points out that in the wake of these incidents, the UK needs to increase their level of cyber expertise by attracting more people into the tech industry. We agree there are not going to be many unemployed cybersecurity consultants with this sort of scale of activities!