Any cyber attack is considered a huge challenge, but when it happens in lockdown it takes things to a whole new level.


As UK lockdown measures came into effect in response to COVID-19, the challenges posed to every business came into sharp focus. Overnight, people switched to working from home and entire supply chains, from grocery to car production, adapted to meet changing demands.

For one UK-based engineering firm, another undetectable threat was also looming. On the first Friday of lockdown, its systems were targeted by a ransomware attack – a cyber crime demanding money in order to restore access to data.

The firm turned to our Cyber team for help.

Total outage

The ransomware attack disabled the client’s entire system, taking the team offline across all of its sites, including the UK, Europe and Asia. Working fast was an absolute imperative for Deloitte. Within hours we’d organised a team of 40 people to start a system rebuild.

Everything was, of course, made significantly more complicated because of the challenges posed by COVID-19. With lockdown measures in place, the team had to conduct the project almost entirely remotely. What would usually be done in situ – from client interactions to the writing of code – was done, in many cases, hundreds of miles away from people’s homes.

How did we help?

We helped clean up the targeted system to ensure operations could rapidly get back up and running. An initial cyber investigation was conducted to establish the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the attack and, crucially, identify which part of the client’s system was open and vulnerable, and work on rebuilding everything from there.

Within just three weeks, the issues were resolved and the organisation was back to its normal operational state.

Safer for us, not so safe for our data

With so many people working from home, the security risks are much higher than normal for all organisations. Basic things like being able to send emails securely is much more challenging.

So, for our client, we not only resolved the issues from this cyber attack, we also ensured they had security controls in place that were able to manage the increased risk working from home presents.

Closing the door to future hackers

Any open back door is now firmly closed to would-be hackers – and they’ll have far more difficulty unpicking the locks in future.

View our Annual Report here and discover the many other ways we’ve made an impact in 2020.

What impact will you make with us? Explore careers at Deloitte here.


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