One in three local authorities do not have firewalls in place, according to a survey conducted by organisers of the Infosecurity show.
An alarming six per cent of authorities surveyed have no form of security at all in place - not even anti-virus software.
The Survey on IT Security within Local Government was compiled by Infosecurity 99 and Government Computing, in association with Check Point Software.
The survey points out that slack security practice in local government puts at risk personal records about residents and employees that are held by local and national government bodies as they go online.
"If councils are connecting libraries using the same Wan without firewalls, this would allow hackers to reach into private systems," said Deri Jones, of security specialists, NTA Monitor.
Jones said the true situation may be even worse. During NTA Monitor's regular security testing of local authorities, it has found that many sites have developed in house security measures that they classify as firewalls. In reality, they are using security toolkits or basic packet filtering in a router - measures Jones condemns as woefully short of best practice.
Nearly 60 per cent of the authorities surveyed have not had their security budgets increased in the last two years.
For more stories see 7 April issue of Network News UK
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