Tuesday 13 October 2020 12:02 pm

Hackney Council hit by ‘serious’ cyber attack

Hackney Council has been hit by a major cyber attack that is affecting many of its services and IT services.

The council has called in experts from the National Cyber Security Centre, as well as the Ministry of Housing and local government to investigate the incident.

Read more: NZX information boss departs after four-day cyberattack

It is unclear which services have been affected, and the council said it had limited information about the nature and scale of the attack.

“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,” Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville said in a statement.

The council warned that some services may be unavailable or slower than normal as a result of the attack.

“We ask that residents and businesses only contact us if absolutely necessary, and to bear with us while we seek to resolve these issues,” it said.

Ransomware attacks – where attackers take control of computer systems and demand payment – is becoming a growing problem for both private companies and public bodies.

Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at IT firm ESET, said the attack bore “all the hallmarks of a ransomware attack”.

“But what we should be worried about is the new direction that threat actors are taking these days, where they not only encrypt the data but they threaten to release it too,” he said.

Read more: Government issues cybersecurity alert for UK education sector

“Councils which may lack funding, and consequently may not have the strongest network protection, can be an easy target for those looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. 

“Unfortunately, there is big money to be made and criminal hackers are quick to adapt and make their crime pay.”

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