Cyberattack: 'That organised criminals have chosen to attack us in this way is morally repugnant'

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, updates residents on the cyberattack which is disrupting Council services.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney
Many of you will be worried about last week’s serious cyberattack on the Council, and the significant impact it continues to have on our services.

I am incredibly angry that organised criminals have chosen to attack us in this way, and in the middle of dealing with a global pandemic. It is morally repugnant, and is making it harder for us to deliver the services you rely on.

We’re working very closely with the Government, National Cyber Security Centre, National Crime Agency and other experts to investigate the attack, and Council officers are working extremely hard to get to the bottom of what has happened with the aim of restoring affected services as soon as we can. 

Unfortunately, I have to warn you, despite all this work and the dedication of Council staff, that some services may be significantly disrupted for some time. 

What we know so far is that the attack has impacted our ‘legacy’ and non-cloud-based systems – including many systems that are needed for essential services that residents depend on, whether that’s taking or making payments, logging repairs for our tenants, or approving applications ─ from licensing to planning.

We’ll be regularly updating the latest status of affected services on the Service Status page

Our newer, cloud-based services were not affected. We’ve also made sure that critical systems important to combating coronavirus – such as local contact tracing – are operating. We’re quickly finding workarounds where we can, and some vital payments, including housing benefit payments, are now being made. We have also now put in place arrangements so that residents can report housing repairs to us and are working hard to put similar solutions in place for other services.

Being clear and transparent is really important to the Council and we’d like to say more about the nature of the attack and the impact it is having on our services, but we must also make sure that we do not inadvertently assist the attackers by doing so. My commitment to you is that once we are able to say more, we will. 

I can also promise that where all payment systems are unavailable, nobody who is unable to make a payment to us – whether a fixed-penalty notice, rent payment or otherwise – will be financially penalised because of this attack. 

We know that many residents, businesses, and partner organisations are concerned about the risk of data having been lost. I understand that concern and uncertainty, so early on we reported the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office and are working closely with Government experts to investigate this. If you have a specific urgent or serious concern about your data, you can contact the Council’s Data Protection Officer, Nicholas Welburn, on nicholas.dataprotection@hackney.gov.uk. However, please be aware that we have limited information at this point as the investigation is still at an early stage. 

This is a serious and complex criminal attack on public services, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure these attackers face justice. In the meantime, please bear with us if we aren’t providing some services to our usual standards. We’re working incredibly hard to restore them as quickly as we can.
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

For the latest updates on the cyberattack and its impact on Council services, visit the Service Status page.