Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Hackers hit Aberdeen City Council computer system 15 million times in last year

Jai Aenugu, managing director of The TechForce
Jai Aenugu, managing director of The TechForce

Hackers have tried to gain illegal access to Aberdeen City Council’s computer system more than 15 million times in the last year, according to new figures.

Network technicians helped to block the equivalent of 41,800 infiltration attempts every day between October 2018 and September 2019.

But, despite the large number of incidents involved, only two cyber-attacks during that period had any levels of success.

Almost three-quarters of the unsuccessful breaches involved spam and phishing emails, which are fake messages, designed to look as if they are from legitimate websites in order to trick users into revealing personal information.

Nearly one-quarter were classed as “intrusions,” while more than 35,000 viruses – making up 0.2% of the total – were caught trying to embed themselves in devices.

In March, a council employee received a phishing e-mail from a “compromised partner organisation” and logged into a website using their work details. This resulted in a “small data breach” on their account.

Then, in November 2018, a spam e-mail was sent from a council supplier, advising users to click a link and change their password, causing only a “minor impact”.

The local authority employs a dedicated team to focus on its cyber security capabilities, with “layered security” and round-the-clock network monitoring.

Operational delivery convener John Wheeler said: “Given the volume of attempts, it’s encouraging that our security systems are catching all but a tiny number of them.

“I’d commend our officers for the work they’re putting in to keep the authority safe.”

Jai Aenugu, managing director of Aberdeen cyber-security company The TechForce, is among those who have alerted councils to the threat posed by hackers, who work from thousands of different locations all over the world.

He said: “Data shows that most cyber-attack attempts across both the public and private sectors involve the use of phishing and scam emails.

“Since more than 90% of successful cyber-attacks start from a phishing email, it is vital for an organisation to nurture a strong security culture by educating their employees on potential risks of phishing emails and how to spot them.”

Alex Nicoll, resource spokesman for the council SNP group, said: “As the council moves to a more digital method of service delivery, we must ensure we have robust mechanisms in place to prevent attacks being successful.”

A council spokesman said: “Aberdeen City council is continually developing and refining controls to mitigate against the impact of cyber threats.

“During the previous year, there were two large global spikes increasing the number of attempts.

“While we are unable to limit the number of attempts, the focus is on aligning people, process and technology to minimise the impact of these cyber threats.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]