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Virus attack left council 'paralysed' as figure of £3,000 raised at meeting




Swaffham Town Council may have to pay upfront costs of nearly £3,000 following a computer virus attack in April.

The attack was said to have left council staff “paralysed” for three days from April 22, and has been described as a “big problem”.

Town clerk Richard Bishop told a council meeting last week that the costs of £2,930 would include an advance alert, firewall, as well as a network security system which monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic.

Swaffham Town Council's computer system was hacked in April
Swaffham Town Council's computer system was hacked in April

The figure would also include a Wi-Fi access point which costs £450 per location with the town hall being mentioned as the site for this.

There would also be costs for the time spent by engineers configuring the software, which Mr Bishop estimated would take a “day’s work”.

The council had sought advice from an Information Commissioner’s Office technical team who came up with the recommendations.

Mr Bishop told councillors: “If you accept all of the recommendations, they are things which would have made life more difficult for anyone trying to get in to the system.

“All you can do is what is there at the time and this is the best they can come up with.”

Councillor Ian Pilcher suggested former deputy mayor Keith Sandle should be sought for advice as he has “expertise” in computer technology.

Speaking as chairman of the finance committee, Mr Pilcher added that any costs regarding a security matter were “obviously critical” and would be met.

Mr Sandle agreed to have a conversation with the town clerk at the conclusion of a virtual town council meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

And town councillors were unanimously in favour of a delegated authority.

Speaking after his conversation with Mr Sandle, the town clerk said the figure of £2,930 quoted during the meeting was a "worst case scenario".

Mr Bishop added: "We had a long discussion yesterday afternoon [Thursday] on this subject, we are both doing some further work on this to justify the cost before agreeing the additional spend.

"We should know more by the end of next week. We plan to discuss matters again on Wednesday."



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