Southern Water confirms cyber attack affecting data of customers, staff and former employees

A water company with thousands of customers in Kent has confirmed a cyber attack has affected some of its customers’ and workforce’s data.

In an online statement, Southern Water bosses have apologised for the incident which has seen data from a limited part of its server estate stolen.

Southern Water has released a statement following a cyber attack. Picture: Stock image
Southern Water has released a statement following a cyber attack. Picture: Stock image

This data is subsequently at risk following an illegal intrusion into the water company’s IT systems.

The breach was found amid Southern Water’s ongoing investigation into suspicious activity, as detailed in a statement released on January 23.

Bosses say they are continuing to work with experts to find out exactly whose data is at risk but an initial assessment has found that it could be the data of some customers as well as current and former employees.

“We have engaged leading independent cyber security experts to monitor the ‘dark web’,” the statement added.

“They continue to report to us that, since we were named on the cyber criminals’ site on January 22, 2024, they have found no new evidence of the data potentially involved in this cyber incident being published online. They will continue to carry out their checks for as long as is necessary.”

“Please be assured that if at any point we have reason to believe your data may be impacted, we will notify you, in line with our regulatory obligations…”

The statement continued to say Southern Water takes data protection and information security “very seriously” and, in accordance with the company’s regulatory obligations, staff are making contact with anyone whose personal data may be at risk.

They added five to 10% of their customer base will be notified.

“Based on our forensic investigations so far, which are ongoing, we are planning to notify in the order of five to 10% of our customer base to let them know that their personal data has been impacted,” the statement went on.

“We are also notifying all of our current employees and some former employees.

“These notifications will offer security advice, as well as guidance on recommended precautionary steps and details of the support we are offering them.”

It comes after the water company released a statement in January following another data breach. Photo: StockIt comes after the water company released a statement in January following another data breach. Photo: Stock
It comes after the water company released a statement in January following another data breach. Photo: Stock

Throughout the process, Southern Water has been working with the government, their regulators and the National Cyber Security Centre. The water company has also notified the police and the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Since the incident, its IT security teams have worked with independent incident response experts, using enhanced monitoring and protection tools to check actively for any suspicious activity on its IT estate.

Southern Water’s operations and services to customers have not been impacted.

Further updates will be posted on Southern Water’s website and social media channels as the company finds out more.

The statement concluded: “Please be assured that if at any point we have reason to believe your data may be impacted, we will notify you, in line with our regulatory obligations.

“If you have specific questions relating to the cyber incident then please call 0330 303 0025.”

Reference

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