A Scottish council is still unable to access some of its data after a cyber attack locked staff out of operational and back-up servers.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) was targeted by hackers on Tuesday November 7, in what is alleged to be a ransomware attack, where a network is infiltrated and sensitive data stolen.

The council confirmed today Monday, November 20, that the interim results of a forensic investigation found data stored on the council's servers remains inaccessible.

The probe was led by Police Scotland in conjunction with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Scottish Government, alongside the council's IT team.

The team was eventially able to access the council's servers, but not the stored data.

The council says it will continue to engage with and seek advice from experts to try and mitigate the impact of the incident.

The council also stated there is nothing to indicate that any of its data has been extracted from its server or published, and pledged that they would inform anyone impacted should the situation change.

A second priority, the council said, is to rebuild operations and ensure the continued delivery of services remains to those in the community.

The local authority has created a management team to lead on the response to the incident moving forward, and said it will communicate its impact through issuing regular updates.

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Malcolm Burr, chief executive of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: "The Comhairle has been the victim of a cyber crime which has caused significant damage and is having an impact on the delivery of many of our key services.

"Our priority is always the people of the Western Isles, and we will continue to work to ensure that the impact of this crime on everyone is lessened.

"This incident once again demonstrates the vulnerability of all public bodies to the growing threat of cyber attacks."

The website remains affected following the attack, but officials have confirmed a temporary replacement is currently being developed.

Temporary phone numbers for social care and social work services can be located on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's page on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The council had previously said its human resources, occupational health and Ardseileach care home can be contacted on the usual telephone numbers.

Police Scotland confirmed they are still investigating the attack.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The Scottish Government is aware that the Western Isles Council is investigating a significant IT incident. Officials are in contact with the council and are continuing to provide support."

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