Redcar cyber-attack: council utilizing pen and paper

178
RedcarImage copyright Getty Images

More than 135,000 UK residents have been with out on-line public providers for nearly every week, as their council struggles with a cyber-attack.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s web site and all computer systems on the authority have been attacked on Saturday.

One cyber-security professional instructed the BBC the incident had all of the hallmarks of a ransomware assault, through which records data are scrambled till a ransom is paid.

But the council refused to substantiate the character of the hack.

Online appointment bookings, planning paperwork, social care recommendation and council housing complaints methods are simply a few of the providers knocked offline.

The National Crime Agency mentioned it was supporting the council.

A crew of specialists from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has been on website because the cyber-attack, which occurred at 11am on Saturday.

The NCSC mentioned: “We are conscious of a cyber-incident affecting Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

“This is an isolated incident and we are supporting the organisation and working with partners to understand its impact.”

The chief of the council, Councillor Mary Lanigan, instructed the BBC: “Computers have been taken offline and methods are being rebuilt.

“We have an enormous crew right here – together with cyber-security specialists – working across the clock flat out to get it fastened.

“They have to go through [IT systems] bit by bit to make sure everything is clean. A lot of our staff are not able to work without computers but they are coping quite well here. The main problem is that we have no email systems. so we have extra phone lines for residents.”

The web site for council tax funds continues to be open and the council says frontline providers are persevering with, with workers utilizing pen and paper.

The council says it’s updating taxpayers utilizing Facebook and Twitter.

Its newest replace mentioned: “We are still experiencing issues with our IT systems, which means we are working with a reduced capacity. We are able to receive and answer limited calls and emails and we will be prioritising urgent messages. There may be a slight delay in dealing with non-urgent calls and messages, and the council’s website is currently down.”

Local resident Claire Louise Corless complained on Facebook: “Should have really sent a letter out or emailed people, not everyone has Facebook to find out. I’m still waiting for my registration to be done online for weeks now. You would soon come after me if I didn’t pay my bill!”

Ransomware?

The council and the NCA declined to say whether or not hackers have been holding the council to ransom with a so-called ransomware assault.

Ransomware assaults are some of the prolific and dear types of cyber-attack, through which hackers take management of an organisation’s pc system and scramble their info till a ransom is paid.

Technology defined: what’s ransomware?

Currency trade firm Travelex continues to be coping with the results of a ransomware assault, which took its on-line providers offline for weeks.

The council mentioned its present evaluation indicated no delicate private information had been stolen.

It wouldn’t say whether or not or not information had been encrypted by hackers, or whether or not negotiations have been going down with cyber-criminals.

Security researcher Kevin Beaumont mentioned: “It appears almost sure they’ve suffered a extreme ransomware incident.

“The serious nature of the attack and the impact it has had should raise eyebrows with UK authorities about the need to put more resources into tackling cyber-crime groups.”

He added: “They are being open in regards to the cyber-attack occurring, which is welcome, though it’s a disgrace nothing is talked about on their web sites to reassure the general public.

“If they plan not to pay the ransom it would be good to publicly state this, to discourage attacks on councils.”