Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, in the North East of England, confirm ransomware as the reason why their IT systems have been down for three weeks.
The hack happened on Saturday 8th February 2020, and it has emerged that it was a ransomware attack.
The current home page reads: “Our teams are working hard to bring the RCBC website back online”.
Council leader Mary Lanigan told the local Evening Gazette: “Our absolute priority since the first day of the attack has been to protect our front-line services, ensuring the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable people in our community, while rebuilding our IT systems so they can return to full functionality.
Mary says: “Significant progress has been made…all front-line services have continued, payments continue to be processed as normal, and there is no evidence so far to suggest any personal information has been removed from our servers.”
Staff had to use the old school method of pen and paper.
BBC cyber security reporter Joe Tidy explains: “This particularly nasty form of hack is unique and a growing problem for large targets like public authorities and companies.
He adds: “The only options are to pay the cyber criminals or rebuild from scratch by using offline backups, which is often far more costly”.
And people in the area are likely to feel the impact of the cyber-attack. Children waiting to hear which secondary schools they have been accepted at for 2020/21 may experience a delay in finding out.
Mary Lanigan, council leader, says: “Our staff are working round the clock to allocate the places by the National Offer Day on March 2 but we will inform parents and carers on Friday, February 28, if there will be a short delay and when they can expect to receive them”.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have been informed and are working to help the council recover.
Other councils across the country should be extra cautious in the wake of this event, as this type of cyber-attack, targeting councils, could be set to increase?