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A quarter of UK councils hit by ransomware

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Nicescene)

UK councils are a popular target for cyber criminals, according to a new report by Barracuda Networks. Based on a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, sent to 430 UK councils, the report says more than a quarter (27 per cent) have fallen victim to ransomware attacks.

Of the 115 councils hit by ransomware, almost half (43 per cent) said the attacks were not successful. The rest, 30 per cent, did not respond to the request, saying their IT services have been outsourced.

Basically no one paid ransom (99 per cent). Just one UK council said they had paid to have their data released, but they did not say how much was paid.

The biggest reason why nobody wanted to pay is that most of them (70 per cent) had their data backed up. The remaining 30 per cent did not respond due to their IT services being outsourced. Not a single UK council said they did not have a backup system set up.

Chris Ross, SVP International at Barracuda Networks commented: “While it’s promising that the majority of councils affected were able to remediate ransomware attacks quickly due to their backup system working correctly, it’s still disappointing that so many of them fell victim to ransomware in the first place.

“Although having a backup system has undeniably helped many organisations to avoid paying the ransom, backup should not be their only means of defence. With the new European Union (EU) GDPR around the corner, the UK public sector needs to ensure it employs a cyber security strategy that protects all attack vectors and surfaces to keep citizen data safe and avoid the upcoming large fines for data breaches.”

Image source: Shutterstock/Nicescene

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.