The Criminal Records Service remains disrupted four weeks after a hack

The UK’s organization responsible for managing criminal records is still experiencing disruptions almost a month after a cyber-attack.

The Acro Criminal Records Office is responsible for providing records to the police, exchanging them internationally, and processing certificates for individuals seeking to work with children or obtain emigration visas.

On March 21st, the organization took down its website and application portal upon discovering the hack. While the number of staff has been increased to handle email applications, delays are still occurring.

“We are working with the relevant authorities, including the National Cyber Security Centre, to investigate and remediate the incident,” an official said.

There was no “conclusive evidence” personal data had been compromised but investigations were “ongoing”.

According to tweets from customers, there have been significant delays, prompting some to turn to the Acro Twitter account to seek assistance in obtaining their certificates.

John Gilday from Scotland shared with BBC News that he waited for three weeks to receive his certificate, which enabled him to apply for a visa to work in Brazil. However, his friend received his certificate much faster.

Meanwhile, Rahim Abdel-illah, from Leicester, who wished to keep his surname confidential, shared that he was still waiting for his certificate to get married in Morocco, and was unable to determine the status of his application.

“It’s pretty frustrating and annoying that the police are taking so long to recover from a cyber-attack,” he said.

Royal Mail suffered weeks of service disruption and delays due to a ransomware attack in January. The hackers, believed to be based in Russia, demanded nearly $70m (£56m) to restore the computer services, but the company refused to pay.

On 31 March, another suspected ransomware attack by a different group linked to Russian cyber-criminal networks targeted Capita, a major company that holds public-service contracts, including the national telecommunications network for smart meters and the gas certification scheme.

Capita is working with specialist advisers and forensic experts to investigate the incident and is in constant communication with relevant regulators and authorities.

“Our investigations have not yet been able to confirm any evidence of customer, supplier or colleague data having been compromised. Once our investigations have concluded, we will if necessary inform any impacted parties.

“We have taken all appropriate steps to ensure the robustness of our systems and are confident in our ability to meet our service-delivery commitments.”

Capita has not provided any update on its website since 3 April, although the company claims that the majority of its client services are still functioning.

Additionally, a criminal organization is currently advertising private data believed to have been obtained during the hack. According to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, ransomware is a significant national security threat, with the scale and complexity of attacks continuing to grow.