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The head of Manchester City Council has recently reported that the local authority’s IT systems have been subjected to regular cyberattacks in recent times. Richard Leese described how the council has reportedly been hit by concerted attacks recently, and he believes that other councils may be falling victim to the same kinds of issues.
The council chair’s warning to other local authorities highlights the importance of cyberattack prevention and response strategies, particularly in terms of how there is a need for a shared approach. Despite their sometimes small and local scale, councils cannot expect to avoid assaults on their systems and networks. Hackers can be indiscriminate in their targets, seeking to hit as many organisations as possible in the hopes of data theft and financial gain.
With councils facing a significant threat of cybercrime, it is essential that all local authorities comply with data protection law to produce effective methods of protecting the personal information they hold. If they are found to be responsible for data exposure, they may be in breach of the law, and the victims of the breach may be entitled to claim compensation for the harm caused.
Richard Leese, the Labour councillor at the head of Manchester City Council, has reportedly raised an alert regarding the attacks the council’s systems have suffered at the hands of cybercriminals. According to Leese, there have been no long-term implications for his council, but he has issued a warning that similar cyberattacks could hit other local authorities at any given time.
Of particular concern was the frequency with which Manchester City Council had been forced to withstand and defend against such attacks. Councillor Leese reported that thousands of attacks hit the council in a short period of time, with the attackers launching assaults from a variety of international locations.
When the issue of the Manchester City Council attacks was raised at a meeting of the Local Government Association, it was reportedly stressed by Councillor Fleming that councils should be “at the forefront of keeping our residents’ data safe”.
This message has never been more important given two seismic attacks recently faced by local authorities. Redcar and Cleveland Council and Hackney Council both suffered significant and costly cyberattacks last year, with the former estimating a cost of £8.7m, and the latter setting the financial impact at around £10m. The disruption to public services was significant in both attacks, with the Hackney Council ransomware attack allegedly leading to the publication of residents’ information on the so-called “dark web”.
As long as councils face cyberattacks, there are risks that personal information may be affected, particularly in cases where the councils may be failing to comply with the legal data protection obligations. Where local authorities have not done enough to protect your personal information, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
If you are looking for a data protection lawyer, Manchester victims of information and privacy breaches can instruct Your Lawyers (t/a The Data Leak Lawyers) as leading specialists in data the compensation field. Our team is happy to offer expert advice on your potential data breach claim, and we have represented clients for many successful claims, winning over £1m in compensation for our clients to date.
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