Disclosure Details

Cyber crime - 476/14

Dated: 04 Jul 2014

Date of request:    10/06/14

Date of response:  04/07/14

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)

Thank you for your email dated 10 June  2014 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked: 

  1. In recent years a growing number of cyber-criminals have used malware to infect and encrypt a recipient’s computer, restricting access to computer files until a ransom is paid for the restriction to be lifted. The phenomenon is known as ransomware.
    I am writing to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act: 
    Since January 2011 has your police force, or a member of your police force on behalf of the force, paid money or virtual currency after a computer or computers was encrypted by ransomware?

  2. If so, on how many occasions over this time period has money or virtual currency been paid in these circumstances? ]

  3. What is the total monetary value of any such payments?

  4. If payments have been made since January 2011 please specify the monetary value in each such incident  

If you anticipate the cost of this request might exceed the cost limit, please answer the questions in the following order of priority: Question 1,2,3,4

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the IC&T Department  of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows.

  1. No. 

  2. Due to response above  - N/A

  3. Due to response above  - N/A

  4. Due to response above  - N/A

Additionally, Northumbria Police can neither confirm nor deny that they hold any other information relevant to the whole of your request by virtue of the following exemption:

Section 23(5) Information supplied by, or concerning, certain security bodies

The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with Section 1(1)(a) would involve the disclosure of any information (whether or not already recorded) which was directly or indirectly supplied to the public authority by, or relates to, any of the bodies specified in subsection (3).

This is an absolute exemption and I am therefore not required to complete a public interest test.

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103