Councils left unprepared for cyber attacks

A new report by Big Brother Watch has highlighted a lack of cyber training for local authority staff, finding that over 25 per cent of UK councils have had their computer systems breached in the past five years.

The privacy campaign group, having received freedom of information, responses from 395 local authorities, stated that 114 councils experienced at least one incident between 2013 and 2017. Of that figure, 25 reported they had experienced a data loss or breach as a result.

Arguing that staff are the weakest link in the cyber security chain, the report says that reducing the cyber risk could only happen by introducing appropriate training for all council employees. This would need to be the result of a culture change within local authorities, as the report found that three-quarters of councils did not provide mandatory cyber-] security training, with 16 per cent not providing any at all.

Responding to the report, the Local Government Association said: “When it comes to data protection, local authorities take their responsibility to keep their residents’ data safe extremely seriously. Councils will undertake whatever measures are necessary to keep residents’ data safe and the LGA has been helping councils to adopt ‘secure by design’ approaches to new systems and services.”

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