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Hackney mayor brands ongoing cyber attack ‘morally repugnant’

PUBLISHED: 16:51 28 October 2020

Hackney Mayor Phil Glanville. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Hackney Mayor Phil Glanville. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Emma Bartholomew

The cyber attack on Hackney Council has been branded “morally repugnant” by Mayor Philip Glanville.

Council officers were praised at a meeting on October 21 by Conservative leader Cllr Michael Levy for working to find “workaround solutions to very complex problems” as the attack continues to paralyse the Town Hall’s ability to take and make payments.

According to the council, 184 households received housing benefit payments three working days late but payments to nearly 5,000 other households are expected to be processed as normal.

READ MORE: Hackney Council’s services likely to face disruption ‘for some time’ following ‘serious’ cyber attack

READ MORE: Hackney Council hit by ‘serious cyberattack’

The Town Hall has not confirmed if the incident is similar to the attack on Redcar Council earlier this year, which is understood to have forced the authority to rebuild its affected services for over £10m.

According to Mayor Glanville, motives behind the attack and the full extent of any data loss remain unknown.

He said: “All of us are incredibly angry that organised criminals have chosen to attack us in this way and in the middle of dealing with a global pandemic.

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“It has put our work and the critical work of our frontline and backroom staff, who are keeping our community safe, at risk and I think these actions are morally repugnant.”

He said the “first priority is to be open and transparent with our residents”, adding: “There are things, though, that we still do not know or are unable to say more on at this point.

“That is partly because this is an active criminal investigation with national agencies involved who are still making their own assessments.”

No fines will be issued for being unable to make or claim payments as a result of the disruption.

The mayor thanked police, Town Halls across London and Hackney’s own opposition councillors for their support.

Cllr Levy said he “condemns this cowardly and quite despicable cyber attack”: “The damaging effect on the council’s ongoing support for residents is very worrying.

“We trust that all council online services will return to normal in the shortest possible time, but I fear it may be some time before it does.”

Anyone who does not receive an expected payment should call 020 8356 3399, but residents and businesses are asked to avoid contacting the Town Hall unless absolutely necessary.


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