Services available, but not back to normal – devastating impact of cyberattack one year on
Hackney Council has confirmed that all services are now available for residents one year on from a criminal cyberattack that devastated its computer systems – and written to residents caught in backlogs.
The sophisticated attack on 11 October last year left many systems unavailable for Council staff to deliver essential services – with months of painstaking work to safely recover them. The National Crime Agency continues to investigate the incident.
Now the Council has written to thousands of customers affected by Council Tax service delays to update them on their requests. Staff are continuing to work through backlogs in some other services – in particular Business Rates, benefits, housing waiting lists and Planning. We have also been communicating with our partners, such as local housing associations, about the impact this is happening and what the Council is doing to put it right.
Recovery efforts mean residents and businesses can now access all Council services, report problems or issues and make requests. Priority is being given to the most urgent cases and those affecting vulnerable residents, so day-to-day requests may still sadly take much longer than usual to process while staff continue to work through the backlogs of work that built up when systems were unavailable.
Corrections to bills, responses and any payments are being processed and issued, and the latest information for each service will be continually updated on the Council’s website.
The attack was part of a wider growing trend of cyberattacks on large public and private sector organisations, with thousands of similar attacks targeting other businesses and public sector bodies since last year. The Council continues to work closely with the National Crime Agency, National Cyber Security Centre, Information Commissioner’s Office and the Government in tackling the issue.
I’m sorry that residents continue to be affected by the impact of this criminal cyberattack – and I understand the frustration of those waiting for us to process their request or respond to an issue.
I’m pleased that due to the tireless efforts of Council staff, who have had to deal with this attack at the same time as responding to the pandemic, I can say today that all services are now open for business.
“But it’s not back to normal, and many staff are working under really challenging circumstances to deliver the best service they can, often without access to their usual computer systems or files.
I also recognise that for some residents, we need to rebuild their confidence in our services and systems, and I know that many people will question why it is taking us so long to get back to normal. That is why this week we have been proactively contacting residents to explain what is happening with key backlogs like Council Tax.
The sad reality is that the damage to systems, the backlogs and the financial impact that residents are seeing is the ugly face of a growing global network of cyber criminals that choose to attack public servants delivering essential services. This wasn’t just an attack on the Council – it was an attack on all of Hackney.