In June of this year Redscan Cyber Security published a report on breaches of councils’ cyber security. Of the councils responding, ten had their defences breached in the previous two years. Few breaches of council cyber security are publicly acknowledged, presumably for security reasons, however, this can mean that the scale of the problem and its impact goes unacknowledged.
Among the ten, there have of course been some that have disclosed the scale of the impact and the cost of clean-up. This has been useful for the sector as we now know that, for those councils, with costs exceeding £10m and timescales for clean-up being measured in months, the threat is real.
Only last week Redcar and Cleveland reported that of the promised help to pay the £10.1m clean-up bill, government was only providing £3.68m, leaving the council to pick up the tab for the remaining £6.4m.
One might reasonably think that following best practice is a secure defence – not so, the National Cyber Security Guidance is there to limit the damage when a breach occurs.
We need to acknowledge that the world has changed. Councils are now targeted not just by a highly skilled and professional criminal operation but by ‘asymmetric attacks’, where nation states are testing our defences.
An additional layer of protection, AppGuard, is now available. Created for the CIA and used by a who’s who of security services, AppGuard operates in a totally different way to all existing cyber defence, protecting against attacks that have not been seen before that even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence struggles to detect.
On the basis that this threat is growing and very real, and that prevention is far better than cure, we have brought this solution to the UK and engaged some of the best cyber professionals in the UK to install and operate AppGuard for councils.
Since the survey, another large county council has been hit by ransomware with data put on the dark web presumably for sale. This underlines that the threat, rather like coronavirus, is endemic and we need to learn to live with it safely. If you’re interested in booking a 1:1 demonstration of AppGuard, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read the full cyber security report, go to: https://www.redscan.com/media/Disjointed-and-under-resourced-cyber-security-across-UK-councils-A-Redscan-FOI-Analysis-report.pdf
Dr Andrew Larner is chief executive of the Improvement & Efficiency Social Enterprise (iESE), which supports public sector transformation
This article is sponsored content for The MJ