Hackney Council in the United Kingdom allegedly has their sensitive private data stolen and published online three months after the reported serious ransomware attack that they encountered last October 2020 which have affected their IT systems and network.
The publishing of the stolen data has been claimed by a cyber-crime group known as Pysa/Mespinoza. They had published a range of information within the dark web that includes personal data of employees and residents, and ID numbers such as passport documents.
On the Hackney Council website, the organization is currently working side by side with experts from National Crime Agency, National Cyber Security Centre, Information Commissioner‘s Office and the Metropolitan Police to investigate the stolen data published and take immediate action when necessary.
The experts believe that the data is not visible through internet search engines and that the data has not been published widely for public consumption. They noted that the majority of sensitive data and personal information held by the council is not affected by the breach. Still, the council and its partners are thoroughly reviewing the data presented carefully and supporting the people directly affected by the cyber-attack.
The Mayor of Hackey, Philip Glaville, expressed his empathy and concern with the residents and staff regarding the exposed personal data. He stated that the team and collaborators are working face to assess the sampled data to take appropriate action, including the affected people’s notification. He expressed his apology to the upset that the incident has caused and ensure that his group is working cooperatively with the police and proper authorities to share further info on the investigation and relay additional action that they will be taking.
A security researcher commented on the Hackney Council story that once a data breach occurred, and data has been exfiltrated, no ransom payment can guarantee that all copies will be securely destroyed for good.
Hence, it is critical that all organizations and companies appropriately invest and make an effort to boost their cyber defences and have the steps made validated by a trusted cybersecurity third party.
It is critical to understand the sensitivity of organizational data, different data types, location and storage, classification needs to be protected. Regularly reviewing the enforced security policies need to be made to keep on top of the situation as change is constant in security technology of any organization.