Hackney Council documents leaked on dark web

Cyber criminals have dumped a large batch of sensitive documents stolen from Hackney Council on the dark web, following a ransomware attack on the North East London council last October.

It is not known whether the council paid the ransom demanded by last year's attackers.

After the attack, the council referred itself to the Information Commissioner's Office, as it was believed the data breach could potentially affect both council staff and local citizens.

It is believed the documents include data on individuals' passports, jobs and photo IDs.

The council says it is now working with the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Ministry of Housing to investigate the seriousness of the data dump.

A criminal group known as Pysa/Mespinoza is said to have released the documents on the dark web.

Hackney Council said of the dump: "We are angry and disappointed that the organised criminals responsible for October's cyber attack have chosen to publish the stolen data.

"We are working with the NCSC, the National Crime Agency, the Information Commissioner's Office, the Metropolitan Police and other experts to investigate what has been published and take immediate action where necessary.

"We understand and share the concern of residents about any risk to their personal data, and we are working as quickly as possible with our partners to assess the data and take action, including informing people who are affected.”

Matt Aldridge, principal solutions architect at security firm Carbonite & Webroot, said: “Once a data breach has occurred, and the data has been exfiltrated, no amount of ransom payment can guarantee that all copies of the data will be securely destroyed.

“For this reason it is critical that all organisations invest appropriately in their cyber defences and wherever possible that they have their approach validated by trusted independent third parties.

“Regular reviews need to be made to keep on top of this situation, as data locations, types and flows are constantly changing in any modern organisation.”

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