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Councils demand more cash to improve cyber security

The LGA has urged the government to divert more funding into cyber defence and computer infrastructure for local authorities and businesses.

Councils say online attacks against businesses have risen by 52% in the last quarter and are predicted to increase even more in the future.

The group has urged chancellor Philip Hammond to support the bid to ensure local government has the skills, resources and necessary arrangements in place to work more effectively with local partner organisations.

Plans have been put in place with the hope of ensuring the safety of private data. Local residents, hospital patients and school students are all potential victims of data theft, such as phishing and malware attacks.

Recent statistics suggest that there are more than 700 attempts at targeting private data and computer servers every day across the country.

“Protecting personal data successfully from computer hackers looking to exploit private information for criminal purposes in an increasingly digitised world is a top priority for councils,” commented Cllr Paul Bettison, chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board.

“However, as local authorities work even more with partners on national initiatives - such as the integration of health and social care, children’s services and welfare reform programmes - councils need to share more sensitive and personal information with organisations including hospitals, GPs, care homes, schools, academies, police and probationary services.

“For this reason, councils need to ensure confidential information is protected as securely as possible from the rising number of cyber-attacks which can bring businesses to their knees, by putting their IT services out of action for days and compromising personal data.”

Data security is a huge modern-day issue and this announcement follows on from recent news that the data of 1,400 was accidentally released by West Sussex County Council.

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