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The British football club Manchester United has been hit by a cyber attack. It appears to be a ransomware attack, but it is not clear whether the attackers managed to steal anything.

The football club posted a message on its website, simply saying that a cyber attack has taken place and it has taken action to stop the attack. The club is working with advisors to investigate the incident.

Systems shut down

In the message, the club goes on to say that its cyber protection had identified the attack and disabled the affected systems. The club hasn’t shared any details about which systems these are.

Manchester United’s publicly accessible IT systems, including its website and app, are still accessible and, according to the football club, no personal data have been captured.

China or Russia

Exactly what is going on is not clear, but according to experts who have spoken to the British magazine The Sun, the attack “bears the hallmarks” of being backed by China or Russia. The timing would suggest that it is intended to cause chaos for the club.

SiliconANGLE speculates that it might be a ransomware attack, as the response was to shut down systems immediately. This can prevent further encryption of data.

According to an expert who spoke to the website, double extortion could also be at play. This involves data being stolen on the one hand but encrypted for the affected company on the other.

Tip: Cybercrime becomes more sophisticated: ‘we can’t continue like this.’