Civic chiefs at Gloucester City Council have revealed they do not have insurance to cover a recent cyber attack which could cost millions. The authority’s IT systems were compromised by hackers in December last year and the council will have to rebuild all of their servers.
The cyber attack has affected online revenue and benefits, planning and customer services. And council leaders say the full extent of the costs it will take to put things right is yet to be known. The council has already gathered £630,000 of funds to assist in the recovery of their IT systems but opposition councillors fear the final cost could be in the millions of pounds.
Council leaders say they are exploring all available options of funding and have recently met with a Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities minister regarding potential support from the Government. Speaking at the full council meeting on March 24, Councillor Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingshom & Wotton) asked for an update on the recovery from the cyber attack.
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He asked how many of the council’s IT servers are being replaced or rebuilt and whether the council had any insurance to cover such incidents. Cllr Hilton said: “Now we know the city council didn’t have any insurance to cover the costs of recovery from the cyber attack this council suffered in December. Do we have the money to cover the full costs to get the system back up and running?”
Deputy Leader Hannah Norman (C, Quedgeley Feldcourt) said the council decided to rebuild all of the on-premises servers as a precautionary measure.
She explained the council’s virtual platform is hosted on 10 physical servers, all of which are being rebuilt. She also said council officers are working incredibly hard to get the systems up and running. However, she said she did not currently know what the total cost of the recovery will ne.
She said: “Cllr Hilton knows I cannot answer that question with any certainty without knowing the final figure. If I had the ability to look into the future, I would probably go and play the lottery knowing that I would definitely win.”
Cllr Declan Wilson (LD, Hucclecote) also asked when the council can expect all council IT Systems to be back fully up and running. Cllr Norman said she was pleased with the progress that has been made but that it was not possible to give a precise estimate as to when all of the council’s recovery phases will be complete.
She also said the council will be replacing its entire stock of laptops as part of its efforts to protect its networks from future cyber attacks.