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Commentary on huge number of local council cyber breaches - Smoothwall

February 2018 by Rob Wilkinson, Local Government Security Specialist, Smoothwall

Following news today that local councils are unprepared for cyber breaches – with over a quarter having experienced some kind of breach in the last five years – we have comment from Rob Wilkinson, Local Government Security Specialist at internet security company Smoothwall on the news. He argues that local councils are actually more at risk than any business, school or bank because these authorities also hold sensitive information on citizens that could be used to build up a ‘profile’:

“An attack on a local government might not seem like a Hollywood-esque script that would make the front pages, but when you consider that over 25% of all local governments have had their systems breached in the last five years, you begin to see some of the pressures and challenges local authorities face. These regional administrations are a relatively unsuspecting target for most employees and councillors and that is exactly why they represent a huge risk. Historically, threat actors might opt to hack a huge financial incentive from a bank or credit card data from a dating website – but local authorities also hold sensitive and personal information on individuals that hackers could ‘phish out’ to build up a profile of their victim for blackmail purposes.

“The solution here is two-fold: aside from ensuring all local authorities have the latest web filtering and web security measures in place, councils need to ensure the mandatory cyber security training is actually undertaken and not let slip by the wayside. Just as cyber attacks should be a number one concern for the board of any business, they should equally be so for any government – local or national. Safeguarding data must be a priority for any business, authority or institution in 2018.”

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