Cyberattack hits three English councils at once, as outsourcer Civica denies blame
Note: This story was updated on February 13 following an email from Civica explaining that it had no involvement with the councils’ IT services, contrary to information available at the time of publication.
Three councils in England have announced they were affected by a cyberattack which has forced them to take down multiple online services.
The councils for Canterbury, Dover and Thanet in Kent, on England’s southeastern coast — with a combined population of just under 500,000 — appear to have been impacted by a single incident.
A spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Centre told Recorded Future News they were “working with the affected councils to fully understand the impact of an incident.”
Stephen Robinson, a senior threat intelligence analyst at cybersecurity company WithSecure, noted that the three councils outsource their services through the East Kent Services partnership, whose website is currently down, which he stated may have been the root cause of the incident.
The website for EK Services states it “manages an outsourced contract for revenues, benefits, customer services and debt collection on behalf of Canterbury, Dover and Thanet councils, as well as providing ICT services to the contractor (Civica UK Ltd).”
Following publication, a spokesperson for Civica clarified that “t this incident was not caused by any Civica systems and we can confirm that Civica has been in no way impacted. We do not – and have never - provided IT services to the three councils in question. We will continue to support affected customers if requested and assist in any way we can to minimise the impact for them and the citizens they serve.”
At the time of the incident, Rob Davies, the media manager for Canterbury City Council, told Recorded Future News: “We are still at the early stages of investigation and so cannot comment on which systems have or have not been compromised, but out of an abundance of caution all systems have been isolated, including those provided by Civica.”
is the UK Editor for Recorded Future News. He was previously a technology reporter for Sky News and is also a fellow at the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative.