Brentwood Borough Council

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Brentwood Borough Council

FOI 12436

IT

Request


As you may be aware, Lincolnshire County Council computer systems were recently affected by a type of malicious software called ransomware.

That locks up a computer’s hard-drive, until a ransom is paid.

I’m very aware this can happen to anyone: indeed, have seen this happen to friends.

I’m a council tax payer.

One who’ like to be able to show he’s paid his council tax.

I keep my receipts.


I’m reassured that my bank keeps records of my accounts.

And know that Paypoint — through which I pay most of my bills — does likewise.

I’d like to be sure that Brentwood Council’s record of any or all of my payments are accessible, and secure.

And AREN’T lost, as a result of criminal attacks

As far as I can tell from the reports on the Lincolnshire County Council incident, the ransomware that affected their systems, was in an email.

One that either got through their Spam filters: and was opened by an unsuspecting worker.

OR got sent to the relevant Spam folder: and opened by a staff member trying to find a legitimate email that had been misdirected.

In view of this, I have a few questions.

Firstly?

Has Brentwood Council’s IT department …

Installed and used anti-virus protection?

Installed, activated and maintained any firewalls?

Regularly updated the council’s software: to ensure it’s up-to-date, and secure?


Given how Lincolnshire County Council’s computer systems were affected?


I would like to know how Brentwood Council trains both staff and councillors in using Council email systems — and other IT systems — safely?



Response


Thank you for contacting us regarding the matter of security. I would like to re-assure you that we take security very seriously and understand the importance of protecting our data.
Please find below my responses to your questions.
Installed and used anti-virus protection?
Yes we have a full implementation of anti-virus protection that is managed centrally. We also have AV checks on our network boundary for email, and also threat protection and category management when accessing the internet.
Installed, activated and maintained any firewalls?
This is a mandatory requirement and we have a managed firewall service ensuring we use expert knowledge.
Regularly updated the council’s software: to ensure its up-to-date, and secure?
Software is maintained and updated regularly, along with using improved technologies to support the use of this software.
Given how Lincolnshire County Council’s computer systems were affected?
I would like to know how Brentwood Council trains both staff and councilors in using Council email systems — and other IT systems — safely?
Brentwood Staff are made aware of their responsibilities and all sign up to a personal commitment statement that details responsibilities regarding data management and processing. We are currently reviewing e-learning course to continue to educate Brentwood’s staff and I agree that with increase in cyber threats that awareness should be raised, ensuring that there is a balance with the amount and frequency of this information.
If you would like further clarification or have any additional questions regarding IT I am happy to answer these, but please consider that there is some information that cannot be shared for security reasons.