Public services hit as Government supplier reveals it was hit by a cyber attack
Written by: Nigel Howle

No organisation is immune to cyber attacks… not even the Ministry of Defence.

The Ministry of Defence had to suspend online application and support services for people wanting to join the British Army and confirmed that digital intruders compromised some data held on would-be soldiers.

A report on the Register website said that the army was informed of the break-in on March 14, and officials were told “that a group of hackers was going to release Army Application Data on the dark web.”

Two days later, the Army shut down the career website and Defence Recruitment System as a precautionary measure.

The site was run by Capita, a company which has £6.5 billion ($8 billion) worth of public sector contracts.

On March 31, 2023, it was widely reported that a larger number of customers were experiencing issues with services from Capita, with the company disclosing that an IT outage of certain services on Friday was caused by a cyber attack and efforts to contain the matter. Some staff couldn’t access work IT, including Microsoft cloud accounts.

Information on Capita’s website revealed that (on March 31) the business  “experienced a cyber incident primarily impacting access to internal Microsoft 365 applications. This caused disruption to some services provided to individual clients, though the majority of our client services remained in operation.”

Capita’s public service contracts include a 12-year, £1 billion training deal with the Royal Navy and the Marines, the management of the BBC license fee and the London congestion charge.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Capita’s  largest government customer is the Department for Work and Pensions.

Capita also holds contracts with the London boroughs of Barnet, and Barking and Dagenham, and with South Oxfordshire council, whose websites displayed messages on 31 March saying that phone lines for benefits, council tax and business rates call centres were down.

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