A social enterprise came under cyber attack this week in an apparent ruse designed to suggest the organisation was closing down.
On Monday the Twitter feed for the Public Health Action Support Team issued a stream of posts calling on readers to “check out” out the organisation’s website for “further info soon explaining PHAST’s closure”.
The community interest company offers consultancy and training in a variety of public health areas, such as care for homeless people and counselling services for addiction to gambling. It was set up around three years ago and employs around 100 public health professionals.
Further tweets on Tuesday stated that the social enterprise had “tried various avenues to stay above board but the work is not out there for us to compete” and “would like to thank all those worked on projects over the last few years”.
The tweets continued, saying “we have desks and chairs available as part of our business closing down”, and “computers are going for free – get in contact if interested”.
However, when contacted by HSJ, PHAST chief executive Catherine Brogan said the organisation’s system had been hacked into. She denied that the social enterprise was closing on 1 September, as suggested by the tweets, and that it was “business as usual”.
Dr Brogan said: “PHAST is not closing. We are open for business and running projects on a variety of topics. I have advised Twitter that our account has been hacked into.”
In a tweet of her own, she added: “Someone has hacked into our system. Please ignore any emails saying we are closed. All is well and well managed.”
She asked anyone with concerns to get in touch via 07970 622604.