Police investigate Lincolnshire County Council ‘ransomware’ attack

Local and national police are investigating the malicious malware attack on Lincolnshire County Council’s computer systems, which have remained locked down for a fourth day.

As previously reported, the attack which began in the afternoon of January 26, held a significant amount of the council’s data stores at ransom.

The malware began locking and disabling files, and brought a message up stating ‘give us a million pounds’.

It was delivered to staff in the form of an email, claiming to be an invoice.

Tests have been conducted throughout the week to eradicate the malware and restore the council’s IT systems.

Access to social care systems has been brought back on a restricted basis, and the council is “hopeful” that most systems will be up and running early next week unless anything else is discovered.

Lincolnshire County Council has no indication of the origin of the malware but has been in discussions with local and national police, and other agencies throughout the afternoon of Friday, January 29.

However, Chief Information Officer Judith Hetherington Smith said that she expected it to be nothing more than “routine checks.”

She said: “There is nothing we could have done to stop this random attack. Our security companies had not seen this attack before.

“We’ve never had a major attack on this scale before. We’ll be reviewing our security but actually what we’ve found is that there weren’t any gaps and we’ve not suffered any data loss.”

Detective Inspector Stephen Knubley, of Lincolnshire Police’s cyber crime unit, said: “I can confirm that LCC were subject to a malware attack on an IT system. LCC security, in difficult circumstances, have been extremely professional in dealing with this matter and are working towards restoring a full service.

“I can assure the public that there’s no evidence at this time that any data has been extracted from LCC systems.

“Lincolnshire Police will continue to work with LCC in an attempt to identify the offenders.”