National Gallery blocked 2million cyber attacks last year

Leading London art gallery was hit by nearly 2million cyber attacks last year, according to newly released figures. These included 18,378 spam emails and 443,741 attempted connection emails

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 23 March 2020 09:12


The National Gallery, one of London’s most popular art museums based in Trafalgar Square was hit with a staggering 1,875,250 email cyber-attacks last year, according to official figures obtained by Absolute Software, the cyber security specialists and leader in endpoint resilience.

The data, released under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, reveals the gallery successfully block a diverse array of sophisticated email attacks, including spam and virus attempts, designed to steal the personal and financial data of National Gallery members.

The Gallery, which attracts over 5million visitors every year an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Interestingly, out of the high number of email attacks, the Nation Gallery’s detection software blocked 18,378 spam emails and 443,741 attempted connection emails. It was the blocked email addresses software that quarantined the highest number of emails, with 1,176,656 different attack efforts.

Additionally, 179,844 emails were blocked under the category of anti-spoofing lockout and a further 10,959 were logged as manual envelope rejection.

A further 2,810 emails were blocked under the category of Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). The National Gallery has previously been associated with national security when it was featured in the 2012 film Skyfall, where MI6 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) meets Q (Ben Whishaw) to receive a briefing in front of the painting ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ by English artist J. M. W. Turner, which is displayed in room 34 of the gallery.

Andy Harcup, VP, Absolute Software comments: “It’s clear that cyber criminals are mastering the art of malicious email attacks, designed to infiltrate the National Gallery and steal confidential data. With millions of visitors every year and tens of thousands of members, it’s vital that London’s leading tourist hotspots have the right systems in place to protect devices from infiltration. With many major museums now closed due to the COID-19 outbreak, it’s critical that enterprises have full visibility of the assets allocated to remote workers as well as always on control of those assets in case of the need to take action. It is also necessary to ensure that critical end-point cyber security & connectivity controls such as encryption, anti-malware & VPN client software is present and connected. The ability to lock down an endpoint and ensure the safety of the data contained on it in any emergency should be a top priority for any IT team.”

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