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Hampshire based outsourcing firm Serco hit by ransomware attack

Serco, a multinational outsourcing firm in Hampshire has become the latest victim of a ransomware attack. They are currently supporting the NHS Test and Trace system.

Hampshire-based Serco employs about 50,000 staff and manages over 500 contracts worldwide. The company operates in many sectors, including health, immigration, defence, transport, justice, and citizens' services.

Marcus Deville, Serco spokesperson announced that the incident affected the company's operations in mainland Europe. He added that he believes the crime group operating Babuk ransomware were behind the attack.

An advisory was given to organisations by NHS Digital last month warning them of Babuk ransomware. This particular type of ransomware tries to stop security and recovery services from running, as well as the browser, email programmes and database.

The ransomware then encrypts all non-system files on local and network drives using a ChaCha8 implementation.

Despite the ransomware note from the group behind the attacked saying that they had been lurking inside Serco's network for about three weeks and had already exfiltrated more than one terabyte of data from the compromised systems, Deville said that there was no impact on Serco's UK business, including the Test and Trace system.

Chris White, Head of Cyber and Innovation at The Cyber Resilience Centre for the South East said: A recent study published by security firm Sophos revealed that 51% of all surveyed businesses were hit by ransomware in 2020.

“This is a number that we are continuing to see an increase and only recently it was revealed that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) had become another victim of this awful crime. With the average ransomware demand for a small business being around £4.3k, businesses need to be aware of the basic cyber steps that they can take to strengthen their businesses resilience against the most common types of cyber crime.

“The Cyber Resilience Centre for the South East (SECRC) is a policing-led partnership which is offering businesses in the region the chance to access free guidance and support to improve their cyber resilience. When a business signs up for the SECRC free core membership you receive a useful welcome pack that will provide you with access to national guidance on cyber security, free online resources and toolkits and a tabletop exercise to really test your business’ resilience plans against a cyber-attack. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up at”


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