The bad news is that more than a quarter of local councils in Britain have fallen victim to ransomware attacks. The better news is that, due to their effective back-up systems, only one amongst the 115 affected councils has actually paid a ransom to retrieve its data.
Due to the increasing use by councils of online services, both for increased efficiency and as a cost-cutting measure, the amount of citizen’s data stored on their systems now amounts to over 27,000 TB – making them a prime target for hackers.
Back-up systems should not, however, be relied on in isolation. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May this year, bringing with it stiff penalties for failure to defend against cyberattacks. Local councils, like everyone else, will need to have a multi-faceted strategy in place to keep the personal data of its residents out of harm’s way.