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Ealing Council Paid Heavily to Computer Virus

A computer virus that led to the collapse of Ealing Council's services (UK) is estimated to have cost the authority in excess of £500,000.

As per the reports, the virus hit the council's server on May 14, 2009 and threatened the systems on and off for as long as 12 days. The virus is claimed to have come from a USB stick used in the Ruislip Road office. An immediate recovery cost of £202,000 was incurred, for the overtime of staff, catering and travel as well as eliminating the virus and rebuilding the affected computers.

Ealing Home's services were seriously affected, with cost standing at £170,000 for the overtime of staff in checking orders and invoices. In addition to this, phones and Internet at Perceval House were switched off and 1,838 parking tickets were written off, amounting to a loss of £90,000. Housing benefit claims were not processed at a time of steep increases, with a sum of £14,000 allocated to clear the backlog.

In addition to this, libraries registered a loss of £25,000, as the virus infection didn't allow them to take fees and fines for reservations.

The security experts highlighted the lack of proper back-up systems there; resultantly, huge amount of money is required to be spent on carrying out risk assessments.

A council's spokesman, expressing his views on the incident, stated that people would have been dismissed in case the incident had occurred in a private firm, reported Guardian on September 3, 2009. However, the council took instantaneous steps to protect all the data and to ensure that important services could continue unaffected.

Mark Newton, head of service, Ealing Council, stated in a report on this incident that the council had learned lessons from the incident, reported Ealing Gazette on August 27, 2009. He wrote that a series of interrogations were conducted and feedbacks were gathered after the incident.

According to him, another major lesson learned from the incident was that if the impact of the virus attack had been comprehensively understood, then the service areas could have developed plans and alternative arrangements previously.

Finally, the council officials assured that the council will bring certain changes in order to ensure that a similar thing doesn't happen in future.

» SPAMfighter News - 9/12/2009

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