Councils reported more than 700 data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) last year, according to the findings of an investigation.
A freedom of information request by Redscan found there was around two data breaches a day reported to the ICO by councils across the UK in 2020. One council reported 29 data breaches throughout the year.
The research showed that ten of the councils had their operations disrupted as a result of breaches or ransomware.
However, just half of council employees received cyber training in 2020, with 45% of councils employing no staff with recognised security qualifications.
Mark Nicholls, Redscan CTO, said: 'There is significant room for councils to improve their readiness to tackle current cyber risks as well as those that will emerge in the future as cities become smarter and more interconnected.'
'Every council has thousands of citizens depending on its services daily. If they go offline due to a cyberattack, this can deny people access to critical services. To minimise the impact of data breaches, it is important that councils are constantly prepared to prevent, detect and respond to attacks. While our findings show that councils are taking some steps to achieve this, approaches vary widely and in many cases are not enough.'
The MJ previously reported attempts to penetrate Gloucester City Council’s firewall from a Moscow-based internet address on election day.