Friday 27 November 2020 9:41 am

Manchester United: UK cyber spooks called in after ‘disruptive’ attack

British cyber spooks have been called in to support Manchester United following a “disruptive” attack on its computer systems.

The Premier League football club last week said it had been hacked, but did not believe any fan data had been compromised. 

Read more: Manchester United lose £23m as coronavirus cuts revenue by £120m

It has reported the incident to the UK data watchdog and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ, has been called in to assist.

“The NCSC is aware of an incident affecting Manchester United Football Club and we are working with the organisation and partners to understand impact,” the cyber body said in a statement.

United said the attack had not impacted matchday operations and club media channels including the website and app were unaffected. However, staff are still unable to access emails.

The Red Devils declined to comment on who was responsible for the attack.

“Following the recent cyberattack on the club, our IT team and external experts secured our networks and have conducted forensic investigations,” the club said in a statement.

“This attack was by nature disruptive, but we are not aware of any fan data being compromised. Critical systems required for matches at Old Trafford remained secure and games have gone ahead as normal.”

It comes amid a rise in cyber attacks as unscrupulous hackers look to exploit the Covid-19 crisis for financial gain.

The NCSC said it blocked more than 700 major incidents last — equivalent to almost two per day.

While the attack appears to have had a limited impact on United’s operations, the club could face a fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if it is found to have fallen short of cybersecurity requirements.

Read more: Experian clashes with watchdog over personal data use

The ICO last week handed a £1.25m fine to Ticketmaster following a data breach that compromised personal information belonging to 9.4m customers.

United face Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday.

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