Investigation concludes into cyber-attack on Gloucester City Council

The investigation into the sophisticated cyber-attack on Gloucester City Council that took place in December 2021 has concluded. The cyber-attack caused damage to Gloucester City Council’s network and online services, with a number of systems having to be taken offline.

The council worked with the National Crime Agency and the National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, as well as informing the Information Commissioner’s Office to minimise any further risks.

The city council has been working with cyber incident response experts to investigate the extent of the incident. Now that this has concluded, we want to advise residents that some personal information may have been taken.

Whilst some information the city council holds about residents may have been accessed during the cyber incident, to date nothing taken has been published online and, based on advice we have received from law enforcement agencies, we believe that it is now unlikely that it will be.

Earlier this year, the government sanctioned seven individuals associated with the criminal group thought to be involved in this incident, which was also behind attacks on several other organisations including hospitals, schools, businesses and other local authorities.

Due to the multi-national action being taken against individuals connected with the group suspected of carrying out this attack, and following advice received from national law enforcement agencies, the city council believes that it is now unlikely any information taken will be published. The National Crime Agency continues to scan for stolen information released on the internet and, if the city council is informed that any information taken during this incident is published in the future, we would then notify individuals affected.

Most of the council systems, such as the ‘Report It’ service that allows issues like fly-tipping to be reported, and the Local Land Charge service used to carry out searches for prospective homeowners, are now repaired.

Jon McGinty, Gloucester City Council Managing Director, said: “This has been a challenging period and I want to thank our residents for their patience and understanding; I also want to thank our staff for their hard work keeping services to the public going during this period of recovery.

“I share the annoyance of the public that we were targeted in this way; this criminal group targeted our council amongst other private and public sector organisations to disrupt our public services in an attempt to extort a ransom payment from the council.

“I am sorry for any concern this announcement may cause residents and members of the public, but would like to emphasise this occurred in December 2021 and based on advice received from our national law enforcement partners, the Council believes that it is unlikely that any information taken will be released in the future.”