Brookson restores internal systems following two-pronged cyber-attack

Brookson Group is reassuring its umbrella contractors that the company’s internal systems are up and running -- following not one but two cyber-attacks on its business.

The reassurance by the group’s CEO Andrew Fahey in an email was issued amid droves of contractors complaining they remain unpaid, since the first attack three weeks ago.

An answer to a FAQ on the company’s website about the initial hack may partly explain why, in the words of one unhappy Brookson contractor, the umbrella is still “detaining” wages.

“The threat-actors that committed the cyber-crime took [our VoIP phone system] offline, and have subsequently been running DDOS attacks on our external customer portals.”


This admission by Brookson of a Distributed Denial of Service Attack -- on top of the hacking it suffered in January, coincides with new, anti-DDoS software on its portals.

In fact, visitors to Brookson Group online, Brookson’s cloud services, and now-redirecting are all told their browsers are being checked by Cloudflare technology.

Brookson’s CEO Mr Fahey says there are system developments internally, too. “We have restored our internally facing accountancy, tax, and payroll systems.”

He added: “We have started working to bring data from our contingency processes into our internally facing systems so that we can begin to deliver service as normal in as short a time as possible.”

'Great news'

In an email to Brookson customers on Thursday (which represents the fifth communication to contractors since the first hack), Mr Fahey said the data transfer starting was, “great news.”

Yet less great, and even soberingly for the umbrella company, on review website, Brookson has received 16 zero-star rated reviews in a row.

Delays in payment to Brookson contractors who were expecting deposits late last week may be partly down to downtime at RBS, which ‘@Ask Brookson’ flagged up on Thursday.

'No way to speak to anyone'

But the online testimonials of contractors waiting on “thousands of pounds” from Brookson, pre-date RBS’s note on improvements to its Bankline service.

Some of those testimonials slam Brookson for its communication saying that despite an email address for customers to contact, “there is no way to speak to anyone” at the company.

Taking to Trustpilot to complain, one Brookson contractor did receive a response however.


“Apologies for the ongoing service disruption. Our teams are working extremely hard to restore all services during this contingency period,” the company replied.

The “Brookson Team” added: “So I can personally escalate your query, could you please confirm your Brookson ID number and I will get one of our advisors reach out to you.”

Also online, a Brookson contractor said he was annoyed at the umbrella “keeping saying” that full payment will be made “next week” and then, when it isn’t, “in the next 24 hours.”

'Normal business service'

In his email, Brookson’s Mr Fahey said: “While no organisation can eliminate the risks of…[cyber-attacks], we are working hard to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.

“In line with normal business service, customers will shortly receive updates on their VAT, PAYE and Self-Assessment processes.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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