A Scottish local authority hit by a cyberattack in November has delivered its first public information sessions on the incident.

Western Isles council – Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – joined Cyber and Fraud Centre – Scotland staff yesterday in Stornoway to share insights with council members and local organisations.

The sessions at the Caladh Hotel gave public and private sector organisations an opportunity to hear about the council’s experience of a cyberattack – and how it has been recovering.

Malcolm Burr, chief executive of the council, said: “Since the cyberattack the Comhairle has taken steps to improve the security of systems and safeguard data. Alongside improved security measures the Comhairle views cybersecurity education as a key step that any organisation can take to improve cyber resilience.

“It was excellent that so many local organisations saw the value in this education and attended today’s sessions.”

The cyber roadshow sessions followed on from discussion on the cyberattack at the council’s Policy and Resources Committee held in Vatersay on 24 April 2024. 

At the meeting council members were provided with a report by the chief executive on the response to the cyberattack, which also provided further reassurance that there was no evidence that any data stored on the council’s servers had been published.

Since the cyberattack the work of rebuilding systems has been led by the council’s Incident Management Team. Working alongside expert organisations the council is continuing to restore and rebuild impacted systems which has included the migration of some systems to cloud-based alternatives.

In the report the chief executive provided the following conclusions: “The Incident Management Team continues to work closely with services to identify areas where support is required and to explore opportunities to improve and future-proof service delivery. 

“The IMT is also exploring potential digital efficiencies where services can gain additional benefits from the rebuilding process. It is inevitable that there will be additional costs resulting from the cyberattack and further information will be provided to the Comhairle as these costs become available. The Comhairle will seek financial support on the costs associated with the rebuild.”

The financial support will be sought from central government, it is understood.