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Cyber attack hits council searches and will take months to recover

A cyber-attack on a London council has caused some transactions to fall through and others to be significantly delayed.

The attack occurred on Hackney council’s system back in October but the council's IT system has still not been recovered.

The council is reported by some media outlets to have admitted that its search service would probably still be impacted right up to the end of the stamp duty holiday on March 31, although it would be offering a partial land search service in the meantime.


The Hackney council website now carries this message: “Unfortunately, following a cyberattack on the Council’s systems, we are not currently able to process land searches. The cyber-attack has affected the land charges processing system and many other Council systems.

“This was an advanced, criminal cyber-attack that has affected a large number of Council services. In cooperation with the National Cyber Security Centre and National Crime Agency, we are working hard to recover systems needed to operate Council services, including land searches.

“This may mean that we will be able to provide a partial land search service in the coming weeks, but we are not expecting to be able to carry out full land searches for some time and cannot currently provide a timeframe for that.

“We are extremely sorry for any delays to your property purchases, which we understand are likely to cause worry.

“If you need to proceed with a house sale, we advise speaking to your lender or mortgage broker about taking out indemnity insurance. If you have already submitted a land search application, we will refund the cost of the application.

“We are working as fast as we can to ensure that services are recovered as quickly as possible, and will continue to update applicants if there are further changes.”

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Not sure how Hackney is not getting slammed for this- any other business has a duty of care and continuance. We have flats on benefits from Hackney and we have been told they cannot make ANY payments for at least 3-6 months (maybe longer) and that Landlords will just need to be patient and understanding!!!! Could any letting agents out there imagine telling their landlords- no rent for 3-6+ months!?!


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