Russian hackers behind cyber attack on council

Russian hackers were behind the cyber-attack which knocked out services at Gloucester City Council, it has been confirmed.

The authority says it has now concluded its investigation into the attack which saw its IT systems compromised in 2021.

It caused damage to the council’s network and online services, with a number of systems taken offline.

The council worked with the National Crime Agency and the National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, as well as informing the Information Commissioner’s Office to minimise any further risks.

It said that while some information the city council holds about residents may have been accessed during the cyber attack, to date nothing taken has been published online.

They believe it is now unlikely that any information will be published based on advice the council has received from law enforcement agencies.

Jon McGinty, Gloucester City Council managing director, said: “This has been a challenging period and I want to thank our residents for their patience and understanding; I also want to thank our staff for their hard work keeping services to the public going during this period of recovery.

“I share the annoyance of the public that we were targeted in this way; this criminal group targeted our council amongst other private and public sector organisations to disrupt our public services in an attempt to extort a ransom payment from the council.

“I am sorry for any concern this announcement may cause residents and members of the public, but would like to emphasise this occurred in December 2021 and based on advice received from our national law enforcement partners, the council believes that it is unlikely that any information taken will be released in the future.”

It was previously reported by the BBC that cyber criminals linked to Russia were behind the attack but this is the first time this has been officially acknowledged by the authority.

Earlier this year, the government sanctioned seven individuals associated with Conti, the criminal group thought to be involved in this incident.

This group has also been behind attacks which targeted several other organisations including hospitals, schools, businesses and other local authorities.

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