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Lincolnshire IT systems back onstream

01/02/16

Six-day shutdown places focus on earlier DCLG calls for councils to join information sharing scheme

Lincolnshire County Council has got its IT systems back into operation after they were shut down for several days in response to a ransomware attack.

Cyber_Security_at_the_Ministry_of_Defence_MOD_45153617A council spokesperson confirmed that IT functions have been working today after the team in charge satisfied itself that it had identified a small number of files affected and confirmed that other parts of its system were free of the malware.

Judith Herrington-Smith, the council's chief information officer, told the BBC at the weekend that a lot of the affected files had been backed up and could be restored.

It followed a zero day attack last week, in which the attacker identifies a previously undisclosed vulnerability in the software, to encrypt some files on its systems.

This was was reportedly followed by a ransom demand for about £350 in bitcoins which the council refused to pay. Lincolnshire Police are reported to be investigating the incident.

It has heightened the profile of the potential for malware attacks on local authority systems, and could intensify interest in efforts to strengthen cyber resilience.

DCLG programme

Last June the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched a programme to raise councils' awareness of how to deal with threats, emphasising the roles of CERT-UK, the National Computer Emergency Response Team, and the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP), through which they can share information on threats.

CiSP also includes the provision of information from the Fusion Cell, a joint industry and government analytical team that examines and feeds back information from a wide variety of sources. It is currently unclear if either of the teams had any role in Lincolnshire's response to the attack.

The council's IT operations are currently run by Serco under a five-year contract that went into operation in March 2014.

Image: Harland Quarrington/MoD, Open Government Licence v1.0 through Wikimedia

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