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NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) - Weekly Threat Report @ncsc #cybersecurity

Weekly Threat Report - 1st November 2019

Esports tournaments at risk from cyber security threats

Cyber security researchers have warned of the increasing threat to the Esports industry.

This week Trend Micro issued a report, Cheats, Hacks and Cyber attacks, looking at the threats posed to professional online games, tournaments and game companies.

According to the report, there’s “no doubt” the industry will be targeted by malicious actors including:

  • Unscrupulous players looking for advantages over their competitors, creating a market for game cheats in the underground

  • Hackers looking to profit by targeting vulnerable players, push targeted malware, launch distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against tournaments and more

  • Other types of threat actors looking to use Esports platforms for political or ideological reasons

The NCSC has published advice and guidance on how to enjoy online gaming securely. With an estimated 1.2 billion of us regularly logging on, signing up and playing online games, we recommend you follow these simple steps to ensure your safety.

Facebook accept ICO fine

An agreement has been reached this week between Facebook and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The penalty of £500,000 has been paid by the social media giant although it does mean that they accept no liability relating to the penalty notice. This conclusion follows an appeal by Facebook against the ICO and then a further appeal from the ICO itself after a tribunal in June.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal saw researcher Dr Alexander Kogan and his company, GSR, use a personality quiz to collect Facebook data for up to 87 million users. Some of this data was then shared with Cambridge Analytica. The ICO stated that Facebook had not done enough to protect user data.

In a statement, the ICO’s deputy commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said:

"The ICO’s main concern was that UK citizen data was exposed to a serious risk of harm. Protection of personal information and personal privacy is of fundamental importance, not only for the rights of individuals, but also as we now know, for the preservation of a strong democracy.

“We are pleased to hear that Facebook has taken, and will continue to take, significant steps to comply with the fundamental principles of data protection. With this strong commitment to protecting people’s personal information and privacy, we expect that Facebook will be able to move forward and learn from the events of this case."

Protecting the data of users should be high on the agenda for all social media platforms and other organisations. The NCSC’s advice on how to use social media safely is a good start for anyone using platforms and includes useful links to specific platform privacy advice such as Facebook.

NCSA report highlights breach risk to small business

A report issued by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) in the US has highlighted the risk to small businesses.

The survey worked with more than 1,000 SMEs and reports that 10% went out of business, 25% suffered bankruptcy and a further 37% experienced financial losses. Almost half of those surveyed believe they are a likely target for cyber criminals.

Although this was a report on small businesses based in the US, the threat from cyber criminals is of course real for businesses in the UK too.

The NCSC has a full collection of cyber security guidance for small businesses available as well as a guide on how to respond and recover following an attack.

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