Councils across the UK have suffered 263 million attacks in the first six months of the year - equivalent to 800 attacks an hour, or 13 attacks every minute. This is according to a new report by Gallagher, based on a Freedom of Information (FoI) request made towards the councils, with 203 of them answering.
Given that another 204 councils failed to respond to the inquiry, it is safe to assume that the true number of attacks could more than double, exceeding 500 million in the first half of the year, the report claims.
In the last two and a half years, a total of 17 attacks were successful, resulting in councils losing either data or money (or both). In one case, a council reported losing more than $2.4 million.
The report also states that most local authorities don’t old a cyber-insurance policy, placing them at even greater risk. As a matter of fact, out of all the councils that were successfully breached, just one has a cyber-specific policy.
Commenting on the epidemic of cyber incidents, Tim Devine, Managing Director of Public Sector & Education at Gallagher, said the councils are faced with “an unprecedented number of cyber-attacks on a daily basis.
“While the majority of these are fended off, it only takes one to get through to cause a significant financial deficit, a cost which the tax payer will ultimately foot. Costs and reputational damage at this scale can be devastating for public authorities, many of which are already facing stretched budgets. In many scenarios, the people responsible for purchasing cyber insurance products need decisions to be made at member, or management level. The cyber threat and the need for cover needs to be high on every local authority’s agenda.”