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Security firms combine to fight rising cyber attacks in coronavirus wake

Steve Rogerson
March 24, 2020



Cyber-security specialists are working together to combat an unprecedented level of cyber attacks targeting the healthcare sector in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Investment firm C5 Capital established the alliance.
 
The London-based alliance includes ITC Secure, IronNet, Haven Cyber Technologies, Enveil, 4iQ and Blue Cedar. Its first action is to provide key healthcare and research facilities with free access to a cyber-security technology through the Collective Cyber Defence for Healthcare initiative
 
The initiative follows a more than doubling of cyber attacks on the global healthcare sector in the past two months. Attackers have targeted hospitals, clinics and even pharmaceutical research and development facilities working on a potential vaccine.
 
The Collective Cyber Defence for Healthcare has been co-ordinated by C5 Capital and ITC Secure, a network security consultancy specialising in cyber security.
 
C5 Capital exclusively invests in the secure data ecosystem, including cyber security, AI, cloud and space. It created the alliance of cyber-security firms to tackle issues arising from the pandemic. There has been an unprecedented number of cyber attacks against the healthcare sector since the emergence of Covid-19, adding an additional threat level to overburdened hospitals, clinics and research facilities.
 
The C5 Alliance – which includes industry companies such as ITC Secure, IronNet, Haven Cyber Technologies, Enveil, 4iQ and Blue Cedar – follows a 150% increase in healthcare cyber attacks in the past two months, such as phishing emails pretending to be from the World Health Organisation and ransomware.
 
"Healthcare companies and organisations are facing growing threats, as seen with the NHS attacks in 2017,” said Andre Pienaar, founder of C5 Capital. “Now with the Covid-19 crisis they are facing an unprecedented assault from cyber attacks. This initiative takes immediate action in helping to protect health services in the UK and Europe in the best way possible, with the knowledge of some of the world's best cyber-security experts."
 
Its first active response is the launch of the Collective Cyber Defence for Healthcare initiative under which C5 will provide free access for hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities in the UK and Europe to its IronDome system, a collective crowd sourcing defence product that is based on IronNet's collective defence technology. It will be managed by ITC Secure's round-the-clock security operations centre in London.
 
Through its existing networks, the alliance is already providing access to IronDome for healthcare organisations working at the forefront of the epidemic.
 
"Cyber criminals are opportunity-driven,” said Sir Iain Lobban, C5 investment committee member and former director of UK government security body GCHQ. “They won't waste a crisis. Creating this alliance of security professionals will help protect hard-pressed health services at this time of vulnerability."
 
The initiative will help ensure hospitals and clinics protect their internal systems and databases for patients, healthcare workers and volunteers. It will also enable pharmaceutical research and development facilities to safeguard their work while developing a vaccine to fight the Covid-19 virus both safely and efficiently.
 
IronDome takes the behavioural intelligence derived from cyber anomalies and shares it across an industry sector to deliver machine-speed visibility of potential threat campaigns. Using IronDome, security analysts with shared interests can work together in near real time to defend their data collaboratively.
 
"With the dramatic spread of Covid-19, a coordinated approach to the crisis is crucial,” said Paddy McGuinness, C5 strategic partner and former UK deputy national security adviser for intelligence, security and resilience. “The cyber-security industry has a key role to play, and this initiative addresses a growing and immediate issue. We are proud to be joining forces with a host of excellent cyber-security companies to help tackle this problem within healthcare."
 
ITC Secure has over two decades of experience delivering cyber security to organisations in more than 180 countries. At the heart of ITC's cyber services is a London-based, 24-hour, staffed security operations centre. From this centre, ITC's teams deliver managed security services to help organisations manage the growing complexity of cyber threats and securely support their digital transformation. ITC's cyber advisors support users from its London and Washington DC offices, driving cyber security change inside organisations and helping them make the right security investment choices.