More homebuyers in Gloucester speak out over ‘scandalous’ problem stopping people from moving home | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


Housebuyers prevented from moving home due to the cyber attack affecting Gloucester City council say “it’s scandalous” the issue has not been fixed four months later.

More residents have spoken out about how they cannot move home because the property search service at Gloucester City Council is still out of action. Many of the council’s online systems were affected after Russian hackers breached their systems in December.

Gary Williams says the sale of his property in Trowbridge cannot go ahead because his buyer has not been able to sell his Quedgeley home. He says the only advice they are receiving is to take out an indemnity insurance policy. However, some banks and solicitors do not agree and are reluctant to allow home sales to go ahead.

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“It’s basically stopping lots of people from actually moving. My buyer’s house is in Gloucester and they’ve been trying to get a search completed since early March,” he said.

“That’s four months after the cyber attack and their advice is to take out an indemnity insurance policy. But some banks won’t accept those and there’s one firm of solicitors that refuses to make any transaction that involves the use of an indemnity policy.

“They weren’t told at the time it was submitted and so the whole chain has ground to a halt. The council is just saying they don’t have a workaround and they ask people to take out a policy.

“This is shocking. It’s pretty bad being attacked by hackers in the first place but then it’s scandalous that four months later they are not carrying out a fairly fundamental public service.

“The longer they suspend the service the longer it’s going to be to get back to normal. There’s going to be a massive backlog.

“The craziest thing is my buyer’s buyer has paid for a search and the council won’t reimburse them. They say well ‘well we won’t do it and you’ll have to take out an indemnity policy.

“It’s absolutely crazy. If it were a private company everyone would abandon them and go to whoever their competitor is but because it’s effectively a monopoly, you don’t have a choice.”

The city council was approached for comment but had nothing to add from the information which is on their website. They acknowledge that residents are experiencing disruption and delays but say they are working hard to minimise the impact.

Their website says: “We’re doing all we can to address the issues as quickly as possible but we do ask people to be patient as we’re working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency to understand more about the nature of this incident.

“We’ll provide updates on services as soon as we are able to, however, we are focusing on managing any urgent customer issues and continue to work with the national agencies and our IT partners to bring our systems back on line as quickly as possible.

“As the situation is still being investigated it is unfortunately not possible to give a current timeframe for when we’re able resolve the issues and we are unable to share any further details as it is an active investigation.

“You can still access advice and information via our website including emergency numbers if you need to contact us. We are taking the situation extremely seriously and thank residents for their co-operation and understanding.”

The council also says if residents cannot find the information or advice they need they should contact the council’s Customer Services on 01452 396396 or email heretohelp@gloucester.gov.uk .

They say they have limited access to their systems but have put in place alternative ways to be able to assist customers so please be patient if the service is not as quick as usual.

“We are sorry but we are unable to access previously reported issues and give updates on these matters at this time and we are unable to offer pre-bookable face to face appointments at this time. We will update the website as soon as we have more information.”





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