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London’s Tourist Hot Spots Suffer 100m+ Cyber-Attacks

Some of London’s top tourist attractions have seen a sharp increase in cyber-attacks over recent years, as hackers go after customer data and look to disrupt with ransomware, according to new figures.

The findings come from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by think tank Parliament Street.

It revealed that Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum, the Tate Gallery and the Imperial War Museum were hit by a combined 109 million cyber-attacks over the past three financial years.

Kew Gardens topped the list, having been bombarded with 86 million attacks in the last financial year, a 438% increase year-on-year.

The Imperial War Museum came next, revealing more than 10 million incidents, but spread out over the full three years. The Natural History Museum reported 875,414 cyber-attacks over the same period, while the Tate claimed to have logged 494,709 incidents last year alone.

The personal and financial details of the 100,000+ members and 800+ staff at Kew seem to have been high on the priority list for hackers. Spyware attempts soared by 526% to reach over 82m in 2017/18, while info-stealing raids topped 1.6m in 17/18.

The organization does seem to have done a pretty good job at mitigating such attacks, although a server was breached in 17/18 and in the previous year an email account was compromised, according to the think tank’s FOI figures.

The Imperial War Museum, on the other hand, suffered eight successful ransomware attacks over just three years.

The Tate appears to have been hit successfully four times with attacks featuring malware and/or phishing.

“These incidents are a reminder of the urgent need to increase the UK’s level of cyber expertise by getting more people into the tech industry,” argued Sheila Flavell, COO of FDM Group. “To achieve this, we need a much sharper focus on boosting interest in this critical area, recruiting more women and encouraging a diverse pool of talent so that we have the skills needed to tackle this very real and relentless threat.”

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