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MHCLG identifies seven measures to reduce ransomware threat

22/03/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The local authority cyber support team in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has identified seven key areas for reducing the threat of ransomware attacks.

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It comes as the latest step in the efforts to strengthen councils’ cyber security, following the recent report by the Local Digital Collaboration Unit (LDCU) in MHCLG on its work in establishing a cyber health framework for the sector.

 An LDCU blogpost said the areas have been identified from reviewing the results of a survey on mitigating malware and ransomware that was completed by 237 councils last year.

They involve:

  • analysing back-up service configuration;
  • using multi-factor authentication relating to cloud and software-as-a-service;
  • performing IT health checks with an eye on the current threat landscape;
  • using the National Cyber Security Centres active cyber defence services;
  • identifying legacy unsupported operating systems and vulnerabilities within the IT estate;
  • assessing privileged user accounts and architecture for Active Directory;
  • and assessing the logging capability, coverage, compromise indicators and enhancement opportunities.

LDCU highlighted the need to continuously develop IT health checks and use a centralised strategic logging solution.

Each of the seven focus areas are broken down into multiple topics for targeted analysis and review, and are being reviewed within collaborative workshops.

This follows the identification last year of five areas of opportunity for MHCLG to support councils in improving their cyber health.

“We were pleased to find that councils have continued to make improvements following the collaborative cyber workshops,” LDCU said. “Following delivery of the MHCLG Cyber Report and Cyber Treatment Plan across all councils, there is a recognition of the importance of cyber security and a commitment to improving cyber health.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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