Cyber-attack disruption could last for months, says council

IT news

The London council hit with a cyber-attack a month ago has said that some services may be unavailable or disrupted for months to come.

Hackney Council, which provides services to 280,000 people in east London, said in an update on the mid-October cyber attack that it was continuing to work hard to recover the affected systems and end the “significant disruption” that has prevented residents from accessing some services.

The council has described the incident as “an advanced, criminal cyberattack” affecting a large number of services, and said it is working alongside the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate the ‘repugnant‘ attack. However, the council has provided little detail on what happened.

“Some of our services may be unavailable or disrupted for months,” the council said, but added that some previously affected services have either been fully or partially restored, or the council’s teams have created new or temporary ways for residents to access them.

“In non-critical areas some of our services have been slower than usual, and we are not currently able to respond to all requests and enquiries as well as we normally would,” the council said.

“A range of Council services are affected by the disruption caused by the cyberattack that will affect our residents, including areas such as benefit payments and Council Tax payments”, the council said. However, it added that many payment options are still available for rent, service charges, major works and garages.

Services still affected include the land searches and planning applications needed for property sales, plus the ordering and reporting systems the council uses to process reports such as noise nuisance, antisocial behaviour and missed waste collections. Systems the council uses to access accounts, create new accounts and process payments for things like benefits, Council Tax, rents and service charges, and the online apps that residents use to manage these themselves, are also affected.

The council also said that messages sent to some of its public email addresses between 12 October and 26 October cannot now be accessed, and that enquiries that have not received a response and remain outstanding should be sent again.

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