Council employee virus costs over a million

September 4, 2009

A London council faced a virus threat on its computers for several weeks causing it to shut down its capabilities to use the internet and phone for a while, after an employee accidentally placed a memory stick that held a computer virus into one of the council’s computers.

Ealing council quickly decided to stop using the system altogether until the virus was under control, to save the core systems and data that was held within it.

Within the week following the virus scare the network was attacked two more times and infected with the virus, eventually forcing the council to replace or at least rebuild every computer in the network.

The price for this last minute computer emergency room visit is £501,000.

However, this is just the working bill as it only accounts for the actions taken right now by the Ealing council and lost revenues, but if a better computer security system is purchased for the network, the price could total up to £1.1 million.

Leader of the Ealing Labour council group, Julian Bell, commented that the council was forced to quit work for a week as a result of the virus which impaired public services.

The emergency proved that the Council is not quite ready for the digital world and its threats, according to Bell.

An IT specialist who happens to be a Lib-Dem councillor, Gary Malcolm, said that someone has to be held responsible for what happened because if this happened in a private company and the company lost half a million pounds someone would have been sacked. According to Malcolm the situation is inexcusable.

Southall Council also experienced the same problem in May at its social services and housing department.


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