Redcar and Cleveland council pins five-day website outage on ‘cyberattack’

Written by Sam Trendall on 13 February 2020 in News

Local authority’s site has been offline since the weekend

The Redcar Central Hotel and the Town Clock on the town's High Street    Credit: Malc McDonald/CC BY-SA 2.0

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has revealed that a suspected cyberattack is the cause of a website outage that is now in its sixth day.

The authority’s site has reportedly been unavailable since Saturday morning. As of Thursday afternoon, visitors are still presented with an error message informing them they “do not have permission to view this directory or page”.

On Monday, the council issued updates via its social-media channels informing local residents of “an issue with our IT system, which means we are working with a reduced capacity.” It said it was still able to “receive and answer limited calls and emails”, and would prioritise queries based on their urgency.

Throughout the last few days, it has remained able to accept and process payments via a website hosted by supplier Civica.

Redcar and Cleveland has now revealed that the cause of the downtime “appears to be a cyberattack on the council’s IT servers”.

It said that is working “alongside the relevant authorities” to investigate and resolve the matter.

In answer to a citizen’s comment on Facebook, a council representative said that, “we have no evidence so far of any data being lost”, but cautioned that “investigations are continuing”.

The BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting service reports that, at a meeting this week of the authority’s Governance Committee, independent member Colin Monson called for a review of the council’s technology platforms.

"I think… what has happened over the last couple of days is a clear indication that disaster-recovery systems across the authority need a serious review," he said. "This is a serious disaster, not just a little upset."


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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