South Staffs Water: Cyber-attack

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:10 pm on 14 December 2022.

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Photo of Marco Longhi Marco Longhi Conservative, Dudley North 7:10, 14 December 2022

My right hon. Friend is correct. In fact, one aspect of the conversation that I had with the chief executive of South Staffordshire PLC was to challenge that very point. The response was that, at the time of the cyber-attack, it was not aware of the damage that had been caused and how extensive it might have been. It has taken time for it to understand the extent of what had happened. Then it had to respond within a certain timeframe under a duty to its customers. I have to say that it does feel like a long time, and, of course, during that time we have seen what has happened to customers’ data.

As I was saying a few moments ago, it is clear that no business wants to harm its customers or be victims of a cyber-attack, particularly those with a proven long and positive relationship with their customers, as in fact South Staffs Water does have. Not only were cyber-defences not strong enough, but I have been clear, and the company recognises, that the communications and response from the company were not as appropriate or as user-friendly as many of us would and should have expected.