UK National Cyber Security Centre investigating ‘serious’ cyber attack on Hackney Council

Council officers have been working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre to investigate an attack affecting Hackney Council’s IT systems.

Many services may be temporarily down or slower than usual, according to the Mayor of Hackney, Phillip Glanville.

“Council officers have been working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, external experts and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to investigate and understand the impact of the incident,” he said in a statement on 13 October. 

Glanville stressed the investigation is at an early stage, with limited information available and urged the local community to only contact the council “if absolutely necessary”.

He added: “Our focus is on continuing to deliver essential frontline services, especially to our most vulnerable residents, and protecting data, while restoring affected services as soon as possible.” 

The incident is the latest in a series of high-profile cyber breaches to affect local authorities in the UK.

Since last year, Hull City Council has suffered 10 serious cyber-attacks, as well as thousands of attempted “phishing” attacks by cyber criminals wanting to steal login credentials. 

Six months into 2019, it was reported that local councils in the UK had faced 263 million cyberattacks. The IBM X -Force Threat Intelligence Index 2020 found the government sector to be the sixth-most targeted sector.

It is unknown at this stage if the attack on Hackney Council was ransomware, like the previous attack on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in February that left in more than 135,000 UK residents without online public services for almost a week, or a “phishing” attack that used malware. 

The attack on Redcar and Cleveland’s systems is estimated to have cost more than £10 million (US$12.9 million).


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