Authorities ‘must better prepare for cyber attacks’

Nigel Taylor, managing director of Taylor Made Computer Solutions     Picture: Lee Peck Media
Nigel Taylor, managing director of Taylor Made Computer Solutions Picture: Lee Peck Media

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AN EXPERT has warned that councils are ‘unprepared’ for cyber attacks.

It comes as Big Brother Watch said 114 councils across the country experienced at least one incident between 2013 and 2017.

That included Portsmouth City Council, according to the organisation.

Big Brother Watch found 75 per cent of councils did not provide mandatory cyber-security training, and 16 per cent did not provide any at all.

Nigel Taylor, managing director at Taylor Made Computer Solutions in Fareham, said: ‘The figures make for uncomfortable reading, particular considering the sensitive nature of data councils can hold.

‘While technology is constantly evolving, it’s ultimately people, not machines, who have the ability to fight cyber crime.

‘CEOs and IT managers are ultimately in the hands of their staff to halt these attacks at the front line.

‘By ensuring employees, from the reception desk to the boardroom, know exactly what to look out for can potentially thwart a significant cyber attack.

‘This shouldn’t be a one-off employee briefing either.

‘These hackers are always finding new ways to trick people so keeping on top of the latest trends and implementing regular training is vital.’

The report by Big Brother Watch found the majority of successful cyber-attacks started with phishing emails designed to trick staff into revealing passwords and other data.

Mr Taylor added: ‘We all know that local authorities are under immense pressure when it comes to budgets and I completely sympathise.

‘Of course it’s hard to justify spending money when cuts are being made in difficult areas. However, the implications of a cyber attack could have even bigger impact on the public purse.’