London Honeypots Attacked 2000 Times Per Minute

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Security experts have warned that remote workers in the UK capital are being bombarded with cyber-attacks, after recording 91 million threats over a 28-day period in January.

Insurer Coalition set up a series of honeypots in a project with police non-profit the Cyber Resilience Centre for London, in a bid to calculate the cyber-threat level to organizations operating in the region.

“We use honeypots to learn about threat actors and their methods. It’s a little like using decoy car to attract car thieves,” explained Coalition’s UK security researcher, Simon Bell.

“Once the attack happens, we can see what vulnerabilities the cyber-criminal is looking for and how they try to exploit them. In this exercise, our honeypots were given IP addresses that identified as physical data centers in London.”

The study recorded 2000 attacks per minute targeting the honeypots, with 85% of them attempting to hijack remote desktop connections used by employees working outside the office.

The attacks were traced back to 101,000 different threat actors, with Russia the largest single source of attacks, followed by Bulgaria, Monaco and Panama. However, Coalition was quick to point out that many threat actors hide their true location using VPNs routed through other countries.

Bell argued that the research showed how home working has significantly widened the corporate attack surface.

Simon Newman, CEO of the Cyber Resilience Centre for London, praised the study as a great opportunity to gain insight into the threat landscape.

“This allows us to tailor up-to-date guidance for our membership base of SMEs, which make up 99.8% of businesses across the capital,” he added.

“It also helps to illustrate the scale of the threat facing the business community, which in turn supports access to funding and partnerships that allows us to continue our important work.”

The Cyber Resilience Centre for London is one of nine regional centers of its type in the UK dedicated to reducing cyber risk for SMEs and third sector organizations. It works in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the City of London Police, the Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police.

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