UK Councils bombarded with nearly 100million cyber attacks

International criminal hacking gangs have attacked the security infrastructure of UK local authorities nearly 100million times in the last five years, according to research from data privacy campaign Group Big Brother Watch

by News Reporter on 20 February 2018 12:56


Cybercriminals have targeted local authorities in the UK nearly 100million times since 2013, according to a new report from UK privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch. The findings underline the huge risk data breaches will pose to confidential citizen data and raise the stakes for incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which arrives in May.

Jennifer Krueckeberg, lead researcher at Big Brother Watch, commented, ‘With councils hit by over 19million cyber-attacks every year, one would assume that they would be doing their utmost to protect citizens’ sensitive information.

She continued, ‘We are shocked to discover that the majority of councils’ data breaches go unreported and that staff often lack basic training in cyber security. Local authorities need to take urgent action and make sure they fulfil their responsibilities to protect citizens.‘

Experts warned that the attacks could have serious implications for Council security policies.

Professor Richard Benham of Corsham Institute said, “With the GDPR deadline just months away, Councils must ensure all staff are properly prepared to manage data and protect the organisation from cyber-attacks. With the UK digital skills crisis making it harder to find workers with the necessary IT skills, it’s vital to invest in training and support for existing staff to maintain high standards of security and ensure the privacy of citizen data is protected at all times.”

Jonathan Young, FDM Group, Chief Information Officer, said, “As cyber-attacks against all businesses including local authorities continue to grow in both volume and sophistication, it’s critical that business leaders and Council leaders alike invest in the necessary training to ensure staff are fully prepared to deal with these threats.”

Young continued, “For Councils in particular, this is very important as the data which they hold will be impacted by GDPR. Preventing and responding to attempted hacks requires all members of staff to have high standards of digital proficiency and the necessary cyber skills to correctly store and protect public data. Therefore it’s vital that all Councils take a proactive approach to information security, re-skilling workers and hiring new talent that is properly prepared to respond to the continued threat of data breaches.”

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