The ICO has confirmed a recent data breach in three Kent councils in an incident which appears to be linked to a shared IT service supplier.
Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council and Thanet District council all suffered disruption to their online services following the near-simultaneous unspecified ‘cyber incident’. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) defines cyber incidents as a breach of a system’s security policy in line with the Computer Misuse Act
All three authorities have been working alongside the NCSC on incident response and remediation. All outsource their IT to Civica as part of the East Kent Services [EKS] shared services function. This is most likely where the attacks occurred. The attacks appeared to focus primarily on planning services and online forms.
The three Kent councils affected by the incidents are members of KCWARP, which like SEGWARP (South East Government Warning, Advisory and Reporting Point) is one of a number of groups around the country designed to bring together information security officers from local government.
Matt Smith, specialist WARP manager said,
“With cyber attacks against councils on the increase, we have to take a ‘when not if’ attitude. When these attacks can have such a potentially disastrous impact on a councils’ residents, it proves how being part of a WARP has never been so important. WARPs provide not just peer support during an incident, but also the opportunity for critical lessons learnt afterwards.”
All councils have the opportunity to join a WARP in their region and membership is recommended by the LGA. The aim of the WARPs is to provide a one-stop shop for early warning, information sharing and best-practice advice around the latest cyber-security threats. SEGWARP offers members the opportunity to receive early-warning notifications. And, as importantly, the chance to come together to discuss challenges and share best practice in a confidential and trusted environment.
To find out more about SEGWARP visit: seemp.co.uk/segwarp