Cybercriminal group recognized as Pysa/Mespinoza has leaked the sensitive information stolen from the Hackney Council on the Darknet website. The group of attackers claimed that the stolen documents are from Hackney Council in a ransomware attack last year. The council in East London stated that they are collaborating with the Ministry of Housing and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to scrutinize and perceive the impact of the incident.
The stolen data published on the ‘dark web contains the personal information of council staff and residents; the files include critical information regarding the PhotoID, staff data, passports dump’. Cybercriminal group is utilizing the stolen data as their leverage to extort payment from the Hackney Council.
Cybersecurity expert, Brett Callow stated that “It’s an increasingly common place for ransomware groups to steal data and use the threat of its release as additional leverage to extort payment. Organizations in this position are without good option. Whether they pay or not, they’ve had a data breach and the criminals have their information. The most they can hope for is a pinky-promise that it will be destroyed”.
In this regard, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidelines announced that there is no assurance that organizations, companies, or councils will get access to their stolen data even if the ransom demand from extorters is fulfilled. Hence law enforcement ‘does not encourage, endorse, nor condone the payment of ransom demands’.
Hackney council spokesperson asserted that in their initial investigation there are no indications that the majority of the critical and personal information of our residents have been published or affected. There are also not any signs of this critical information visible via search engines on the Internet.
He further asserted that necessary precautionary measures have been taken and they are closely monitoring the whole incident. They have collaborated with the local authorities including the Information Commissioner’s Office, Metropolitan Police, and National Crime Agency to investigate the whole incident.