SLH’s former gas contractor subject of cyber attack

Published: 25 August 2021

On Tuesday 10 August 2021, South Liverpool Homes was contacted by Liberty, a former gas contractor, to inform us that they had been subject to a cyber security incident which means that the personal data of some of our tenants has been leaked. 

This page lets you know what happened and the support and guidance we are offering our affected customers. 

Liberty was SLH’s gas contractor from October 2019 to April 2020 and, as part of this contract, Liberty held information about all SLH tenants including names, addresses and other contact details.  

Before April 2020, SLH had a contract with Warmer Energy Services (WES) however Liberty bought them out in October 2019.  

The data that has been accessed is from the time when SLH had a contract with WES which applies to all customers who had a home with us as of March 2019. 

We understand that this is very concerning for our tenants and although we consider this a low-level breach of data for the majority of our customers, we are letting you know so that you can be extra vigilant with your personal data. We would like to reassure you that no financial data or passwords have been accessed. 

Among the SLH tenants affected, 496 tenants’ signatures were also accessed alongside name, address and contact details. Therefore, we are contacting these tenants directly to provide them with further information and advice. We are also contacting a small number of vulnerable tenants who may have safeguarding concerns following this breach of data. 

Protecting the data of our customers is something we take extremely seriously and we are treating this incident with utmost importance, working closely with Liberty as they continue to carry out their investigations. 

The ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ below include further information and advice for our customers who are impacted by the incident. 

If any of our customers have any concerns, please contact us at questions@southliverpoolhomes.co.uk or call 0330 303 3000 and press option 3. 

FAQ’s 

How did the data breach happen? 

Liberty was subject to a ransomware attack on 25 July 2021 which affected a number of their clients. At that time, Liberty was not aware that it affected any of SLH’s data. However, after further investigations, they informed SLH on 10 August 2021 that some of our tenants have been affected.   

Who is Liberty? 

Liberty was SLH’s gas servicing and maintenance contractor until April 2020. Before this, SLH had a contract with Warmer Energy Services (WES) however Liberty bought them out in October 2019. The data that has been accessed is that of former WES clients, including SLH and a number of other housing associations. 

Who is affected and what information has been accessed? 

Tenants who had a home with us as of March 2019 are affected by this data breach. Information includes names, addresses and contact details. However, the signatures of 496 tenants have also been released and we are contacting these tenants directly. This information has been taken from gas safety certificates which the attackers have illegally accessed. No financial data has been accessed. 

How serious is this and do I need to do anything to protect myself? 

We consider this as a low-level breach as no financial information and personal passwords have been affected. Therefore, the risk of financial fraud is low. However, because tenants’ personal data has been released, we advise you to be extra vigilant with your personal data, especially with any unwanted communication you may receive by post, email or telephone.  

What has South Liverpool Homes done to respond to this? 

We are in the process of contacting all customers who have been affected to provide them with further information and advice. As well as reporting the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Regulator of Social Housing, we are employing the services of a specialist IT security company who are scanning the internet for the affected SLH addresses on a weekly basis. 

Why do SLH’s contractors hold information about tenants? 

Contractors need to have access to tenant data to enable them to do their job properly. For example, they need the addresses of customers so that they can carry out gas safety checks in their homes. All contractors sign a data-sharing protocol, with a number of obligations placed on the contractor to ensure the security of data as much as possible. 

How can SLH make sure that this doesn’t happen with any other contractors in the future? 

Unfortunately, we cannot control cyber attacks on our organisation or any of our contractors. However, we do have policies in place to help us minimise the risk and we will continue to ensure these policies are being acted upon. We are instructing Liberty to remove all our tenants’ data from their ICT systems with immediate effect. 

I’m concerned, who do I contact? 

If any of our customers have any concerns, please contact us at questions@southliverpoolhomes.co.uk or call 0330 303 3000 and press option 3. 

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