GOZeus threat knocks out government-backed security site

The Get Safe Online website, designed to educate computer users about cyber security, suffers high traffic-induced outage


Moments after the National Crime Agency (NCA) advised people to check the Get Safe Online website to find out how to protect themselves against the GOZeus and CryptoLocker malware, the website crashed.

Get Safe Online blamed the downtime on the fact too many people were trying to access the site at the same time. As a result, the servers couldn't complete requests and problems continued for two days, despite the team behind Get Safe Online trying to add extra capacity.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Although it was first suggested the site had been subject to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, it has since been confirmed the outage was caused by a high number of visitors accessing the site at once.

Capacity was quadrupled in response, but intermittent problems continued into Wednesday with some users still reporting they were unable to access the site.

The incident has raised concerns that the government would not be able to deal with a more vigorous cyber-security crisis.

Tony Neate, Get Safe Online's chief executive, said: "We're looking at what we can do to make sure this won't happen again. We're sorry. I've had no sleep for two days."

Get Safe Online was joint-funded by the government and private companies. PayPal, Barclays, Microsoft, Ofcom, Natwest, Kaspersky Lab and Norton are all listed on the website as partners in addition to a number of other companies involved in the anti-fraud and security space.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The site provides information about how to protect computers, smartphones and tablets against malware and other security threats.

When the Get Safe Online website crashed, much of the information about GOZeus and CryptoLocker was later copied and posted on the UK's newly established Cyber Emergency Readiness Team (Cert) website.

Featured Resources

The case for a marketing content hub

Transform your digital marketing to deliver customer expectations

Download now

Fast, flexible and compliant e-signatures for global businesses

Be at the forefront of digital transformation with electronic signatures

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

IT faces new security challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Beat the crisis by learning how to secure your network

Download now



K2View innovates in data management with new encryption patent

28 May 2020
video conferencing

Zoom 5.0 adds 256-bit encryption to address security concerns

23 Apr 2020

WhatsApp flaw leaves users open to 'shoulder surfing' attacks

21 Apr 2020
cyber security

Microsoft AI can detect security flaws with 99% accuracy

20 Apr 2020

Most Popular

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft warns users not to install Windows 10's May update

28 May 2020
cyber security

Microsoft bans Trend Micro driver from Windows 10 for "cheating" hardware tests

27 May 2020
data protection

NHS yet to understand risks of holding Test and Trace data for 20 years

29 May 2020