Hackney Council hit with ransomware attack

Confidential documents have been stolen by a cyber criminal group who hacked Hacknet Council with a ransomware attached

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 12 January 2021 10:48

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A cyber crime group has posted what it claims are documents stolen from Hackney Council in a ransomware attack. The publication on the dark web of the personal details of council staff and residents follows "a serious cyber-attack" on the council in October. Experts said the data was "limited" and "not visible through search engines".

Officials continue to work with the UK National Cyber Security Centre and National Crime Agency to investigate the hack, the council said. Hackney Council's cabinet member for planning, Guy Nicholson, said the hack had affected services residents relied on, including by disrupting the ability of the council to process land search requests for those buying property.

Many residents have complained on social media about how the disruption has cost them financially and derailed house purchases. 

Tim Sadler, CEO, Tessian said, "Although it's unclear how this particular group delivers its ransomware payload, it's likely that phishing has played a role. Figures from last year show that distributing ransomware attacks via email is quickly coming "back into fashion", while our own research found that a third of IT leaders have experienced a rise in ransomware delivered by phishing messages since companies started working fully remotely last year. 

"As hackers continually look for ways to hack humans in order to hack organisations, businesses must find ways to secure their people, especially as they continue working remotely. Educating people will help but advanced attacks like this require advanced security solutions. 

"Often, hackers will build trust with their targets over time, and across multiple emails, before sending the tell-tale malicious payload link or attachment. Solutions need to be in place to automatically detect this threat, and alert employees, at the very start of the email chain to avoid valuable data being stolen and extorted."

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