Labour Party unable to access data after suspected cyber attack on managed service provider

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The UK’s Labour Party has confirmed that a cyber attack has left it unable to access large amounts of its data.

The Party first became aware of the incident on 29 October 2021 after being told by a third party, which handles data on Labour’s behalf, that it was subject to an unspecified “cyber incident”.

Labour said as soon as it became aware of the situation, it engaged outside experts and immediately reported it to the relevant authorities, including the National Crime Agency (NCA), National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – all of which are currently investigating the incident.

Data currently inaccessible includes member information, registered and affiliated supporters, and other individuals who have provided information to the party, Labour said in a statement posted online and sent directly to members.

While the official wording used by all the authorities and known parties involved broadly categorises it as a “cyber incident”, the information shared, combined with testimony from sources speaking to wider media, suggests that one of Labour’s managed service providers (MSP) may have been hit by ransomware.

Labour said it is still currently trying to understand the full nature of the attack and its scope, but assured the Party’s own data systems remain unaffected.

“We are aware of this issue and are working with the Labour Party to fully investigate and mitigate any potential impact,” said the NCSC.

A spokesperson for the NCA said: “The NCA is leading the criminal investigation into a cyber incident impacting on the Labour Party. We are working closely with partners to mitigate any potential risk and assess the nature of this incident.”

Much of the information around the cyber attack, such as who or what group is behind the attack, or whether a ransom has been demanded, have not been confirmed. The affected MSP has also not been identified yet.

“The Party takes the security of all personal information for which it is responsible very seriously,” said Labour. “It is doing everything within its power to investigate and address this incident in close liaison with law enforcement, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the affected third party.”

Labour also encouraged members to be vigilant against suspicious activity such as receiving unusual emails, phone calls, and texts.

The Labour Party was one of a number of organisations caught up in the infamous hack on database service provider Blackbaud, which also hit a range of UK universities and Bletchley Park donors.

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