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British and US officials warn of cyber threats amid coronavirus pandemic

Healthcare and related organizations could be at risk

Updated: May 5, 2020 - 7:47pm

U.S. and British cybersecurity agencies are warning that organizations involved in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are being targeted online. 

"The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have seen large-scale ‘password spraying’ campaigns against healthcare bodies and medical research organizations," a press release notes.

The practice of "password spraying" involves trying a common password across accounts in order to gain access and then moving on to try again with another password if the attempt is unsuccessful. 

A joint alert from the UK and U.S. cybersecurity agencies warns that targeted groups "include healthcare bodies, pharmaceutical companies, academia, medical research organizations, and local governments."

The two agencies in April warned about cybercriminals seeking to take advantage of the global pandemic: "APT groups and cybercriminals are targeting individuals, small and medium enterprises, and large organizations with COVID-19-related scams and phishing," the government agencies noted. 

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