Closure of York Council app after hack
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Closure of York Council app after hack

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The York Council app that was hacked late last year has reportedly been shut down as a result of the data breach incident.

It’s understood that the public-facing aspect of the app is no longer available. Residents had been able to access it and use it as part of waste-reduction plans and for the improvement of their environmental performance.

After it was discovered that the app lacked the proper security to keep users’ data safe, the app has now been reportedly shut down and is no longer publicly-available.

About the York Council app  that was hacked

News that the York Council app called One Planet York was hacked hit the media headlines in late 2018. An expert had found that the app was vulnerable and reported the issue to the council, who then bizarrely reported him to the police.

York Council later apologised, but the issue that the breach happened in the first place remains. A spokesperson for York Council on the police referral said:

“It has become clear that the person who identified the issue with the One Planet York app had tried to contact us but their email had not been received due to security settings. Whilst we consider we took appropriate measures based upon the facts at the time, we can now confirm that this was a well intended action by the individual concerned and we would like to thank them for raising this matter.”

Data used for the sign-up process was reportedly exposed. This included:

  • Usernames and IDs;
  • Passwords (in encrypted format);
  • Email and telephone details;
  • References for properties;
  • Locations and settings of the app;
  • ‘Planet points’ – a feature that’s a part of the app.

Shut down of the York Council app following hack

Following the hack, the York Council app is now no longer available. The matter is thought to still be under investigation with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office).

This data breach goes to show just how vulnerable apps can be. This kind of technology can be great; but it must be secure to protect people’s data.

We’ve written about the issue of app security plenty of times before. It’s not safe to assume that the app you use is keeping your data secure. People have to remain vigilant. It can only take once incident like the York Council app being hacked for thousands or even millions to have their private and sensitive data exposed.

Council data protection incidents remain one of the most common types of data breach compensation claims we help people with. It’s clear to us that more needs to be done to protect the wealth of personal and sensitive data that councils and local authority agencies hold.

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