Lincolnshire County Council has suffered a suspected security breach on systems holding personal information such as medical records, addresses and bank details – reports the Lincolnite yesterday.
Emails were at first not impacted by the breach but have now been affected according to reports claiming to be from inside the council.
Council staff were ordered to close their computers and turn the power off.
At this stage, it is unclear who is behind the incident.
Judith Hetherington Smith, Chief Information Officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We have a suspected security incident caused by malware.
“We closed down our systems very quickly to protect the data and are investigating the cause but at this stage have found no evidence of any breach.”
A spokesperson for Lincolnshire County Council said: “We have identified signs of a security incident and as a precautionary measure have suspended IT use until the extent of it is clear.
“Our customer service centre is still in operation but is running a limited service.
“Only call us on 01522 552222 if it is absolutely necessary.”
Lincolnshire County Council has said at this time there is no evidence of any data loss from its systems, after IT experts worked through the night to identify a malicious software attack.
The attack, which began in the afternoon of January 26, was reportedly delivered to significant numbers of council staff in the form of an email.
The council has security systems in place to deal with this sort of incident. The recent attack has been described as a “zero day virus”.
Security procedures were immediately put into practice when the council became aware of the virus, and systems were closed down.
Work has continued throughout the night to identify, remove and cleanse the malware from infected computers.
The council is currently testing this solution and once confident that it has been successful will begin a phased restore to IT services.
It has been indicated that the system will be back up later on January 27.
Council staff have also been warned to be extra vigilant when accessing emails.