Leicester City Council’s IT System and Phones Down Amid Cyber Attack

Another day, another cyber attack on a local council in England!

Leicester City Council grapples with a cyber attack, causing major disruption to residents. IT systems and phone lines remain down as authorities work to restore crucial services. Recovery is expected by midweek.

Leicester City Council's IT System and Phones Down Amid Cyber Attack

Leicester City Council continues to face disruption after a cyber attack forced them to shut down IT systems and phone lines last Thursday (March 7, 2024). While the nature of the attack remains undisclosed, officials are working alongside cybersecurity specialists and law enforcement to assess the damage and restore functionality.

“This incident highlights the growing vulnerability of local authorities to cyber threats,” said Richard Sword, strategic director of city developments and neighbourhoods at Leicester City Council. “Our priority is to minimize disruption to critical services and get our systems back online as swiftly as possible.”

The council anticipates a phased recovery process, prioritizing the restoration of essential services by midweek. Residents seeking urgent assistance can utilize the emergency phone lines established on the council’s website.

Limited Services and Public Frustration

The shutdown has caused significant inconvenience for residents. Essential services like council tax payments and license renewals are currently unavailable. Local Green Party councillor Patrick Kitterick expressed concern, stating the prolonged outage poses a serious challenge, especially considering the council’s role in civil emergency response.

Ransomware Attack or Not?

Since it’s not clear whether the incident was a ransomware attack or a DDoS attack, we reached out to William Wright, CEO of Closed Door Security, for his insights. Given the history of cyber attacks on local councils, William cautioned that this might turn out to be a costly and disruptive ransomware attack.

“We don’t know what type of attack Leicester City Council is suffering from but given the recent spate of ransomware attacks targeting public authorities, it’s likely to be ransomware,” William said.

He warned that the government must take action to tackle the vulnerable situation. “Earlier this week, the government responded to a report from a Parliamentary Committee on ransomware, which said it was not doing enough to keep the country safe from the threat, but the government didn’t agree with the findings, maybe this latest attack on Leicester City Council will act as a wake-up call.”

Further Developments Expected

Leicester City Council is expected to provide updates on the situation as progress is made. Residents are encouraged to visit the council’s website for the latest information and alternative contact methods.

This attack comes amidst a concerning trend targeting local government bodies across the UK. The incident also goes on to show the need for basic cybersecurity measures including employee training to protect critical infrastructure from sophisticated cyber threats.

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