Well, ok, not your sausages, I mean data, but with this story being about Lincolnshire County Council, I just couldn’t resist.
Earlier this week, 300 of the council’s computers were infected with the same piece of malware, leaving the authority with no choice but to unplug its entire system.
Speaking for the council, chief information officer Judith Herrington-Smith said only a small number of files had been affected, though she added that “people can only use pens and paper, we’ve gone back a few years.”
Herrington-Smith went on to explain that the attack was quick but, as soon as it was identified, the network plug was pulled in a bid to save as much data as possible, adding how:
Some damage is always done before you get to that point – and some files have been locked by the software.
Fortunately, the council, which denies finding any evidence of a breach, had followed rule number one of data protection – keeping regular backups – and so it expects most of the infected files will be available for use again by the beginning of next week.
As for how the council systems became infected with the ransomware in the first place, I guess there is both good news and bad.
The good news, as far as the phrase can be stretched, is the fact that the ransomware appears to be a new strain, never before seen by security experts, or at least not the ones on the authority’s payroll at any rate.
The bad news, however, is the means by which the council became “the first victim” of this “zero-day malware” – it appears as though a staff member forgot their security awareness training and opened a dodgy email attachment.
Even so, Lincolnshire County Council says it has every faith in its security procedures and, with the ICO aware and the police investigating, we’ll find out how true that is, soon enough.