Risk of cyber attack ‘highest it’s ever been’ as county council doubles down on defence

Suffolk County Council has increased spending on cyber security. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Suffolk County Council has increased spending on cyber security. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information act show that in 2018, £47,593 was spent on cyber security by the council, up £17,000 on the previous year and up £21,000 from 2016, an increase of 80%.

Cyber security spending includes any staff costs, hardware, software, testing and compliance accreditation which contributes to the security of online information.

David Higgins, founding member of Norfolk and Suffolk Cyber Security Cluster, an educational resource for local businesses and organisations, thinks the threat of an attack is 'getting much worse'.

"The risk of cyber crime is the highest it has ever been," he said.

"Cyber security needs to be taken very seriously by any authority or business and I'm not sure it is by them all.

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"I would like to see money spent more wisely on staff training so all are aware of the threat.

"You need to be concerned with the hardware and software but actually the weakest part of security is the human element."

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In recent years, the threat of cyber crime has become increasingly evident, with the 'Wannacry' attacks on the NHS showing how dangerous and disruptive it can be.

In response to this, the council started up a dedicated cyber security team who monitor cyber threats and trends from different sources and analyse the risk of attack against their systems.

A spokesman for the council said: "Suffolk County Council takes both cyber security and information security incredibly seriously.

"We hold a significant volume of official-sensitive information about citizens of Suffolk and have appropriate solutions in place to reduce any potential threats and the risk of being hacked.

"All our staff complete training that includes sections on information and cyber security.

"As hackers evolve their techniques, we also adapt our approach to safeguard sensitive information. Suffolk County Council is always looking to improve its cyber security and information management to ensure best use of public funds."

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