Manchester United are reportedly being held to ransom for millions of pounds by cyber hackers who have crippled the club’s systems, according to Sportsmail.
The Red devils have already brought in a team of technical experts to contain the ‘disastrous’ attack that was launched more than one week ago.
But it’s believed the hackers still have United in their grip after the National Cyber Security Centre on Thursday confirmed they are helping them resolve the crisis.
It said: ‘The NCSC is aware of an incident affecting Manchester United Football Club and we are working with the organisation and partners to understand impact.’
The lapse of security at one of the world’s biggest clubs is said to be more serious than first feared. The club’s network has been infected by ransomware – a computer virus.
It is still unclear who the criminals are or how much they want, but the NCSC revealed that last year, an EFL club were hit with a £5m demand – the biggest single loss to a sports organisation from cyber crime was £4 million.
United could also possibly face fines of £9m, £18m or two per cent of their annual worldwide turnover from the independent government body Information Commissioner’s Office if the attack breaches their fans’ data protection.
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United also confirm the attack will not affect match-day operations. The next home match is against PSG in the Champions League on Wednesday.
A statement on Thursday read: ‘Following the recent cyber attack on the club, our IT team and external experts secured our networks and have conducted forensic investigations.
‘This attack was by nature disruptive, but we are not currently aware of any fan data being compromised.
‘Critical systems required for matches to take place at Old Trafford remained secure and games have gone ahead as normal.
‘The club will not be commenting on speculation regarding who may have been responsible for this attack or the motives behind it.’