United have brought in a team of technical experts to contain the potentially ‘disastrous’ attack that was launched more than a week ago.
The hackers allegedly still have United in their grip after the National Cyber Security Centre on Thursday night confirmed they are helping the club to resolve the crisis.
The lapse of security at one of the world’s biggest sports clubs is believed to be far more serious than first feared. United’s network has been infected by ransomware – a computer virus – and they now face the option of having to pay up or risk seeing highly sensitive information about the club and its stars leaked into the public domain.
It’s unclear who the criminals are or how much they want, but the NCSC revealed that in the last year an EFL club were hit with a £5m demand and the biggest single loss to a sports organisation from cyber-crime was £4m.
United could also face fines of £9m, £18m or two per cent of their total annual worldwide turnover from the independent government body Information Commissioner’s Office if the attack is found to have breached their fans’ data protection – although the club on Thursday night reassured supporters that is not the case.
United has insist the attack will not impact match-day operations. The next home game is against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League next week on Wednesday night.
A statement on Thursday 26th November read: ‘Following the recent cyber-attack on the club, our IT team and external experts secured our networks and have conducted forensic investigations.
We sincerely hope Man United can resolve this issue without compromising the data of their players and fans and we hope they can put the proper procedures in place to prevent attacks of this nature happening in the future.