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Lewisham council officers are contacting around 6,000 people who they believe may have had their financial data hacked.
Data from council tax, housing benefits, adult social care, education and planning could have been stolen. The incident first came to light on April 24 when the Counciol was subjected to a ransomware attack. The council are not aware of inappropriate use of the data but are warning people as a precaution.
A ransomware attack is when the data on a computer is locked by encryption. The owners of the computer are then asked to pay a ransom in a virtual currency, such as Bitcoin, in order to release the data.
The council had been using a portal outside of the main IT network to conduct data analysis for a homelessness project, which was infiltrated by an outside agent. Police are now investigating the incident.
Ian Thomas, Chief Executive of Lewisham Council, said: “Residents using our services are our highest priority. We sincerely regret this matter and are fully committed to doing everything we can to support those who may be affected.”
A spokeswoman said: “We are taking this matter very seriously and have reported it as a crime. We are working with our partners and the appropriate regulators and authorities, and have already implemented a tightening of our security controls. The investigation into the matter continues.”