City of Antwerp plagued by hackers: 'No contact yet with possible perpetrators'

Antwerp has been plagued by cyber-attacks since Tuesday, with schools, museums, libraries and other city services targeted. '"There has been no contact yet with the possible perpetrators because we first want to be 100 per cent sure where the attack came from," Dirk Delechambre, press spokesman for the city of Antwerp, told De Standaard.

During the night from Monday to Tuesday, cyber criminals attacked the city of Antwerp's IT infrastructure with ransomware, an attack with far-reaching consequences. Since then, mail traffic at the Antwerp local police has been down. In addition, the healthcare company Zorgbedrijf Antwerpen had to switch to pen and paper for medication monitoring.

Borrowing books and other materials from the libraries is ruled out. Online ticket sales for cultural performances and museums are down. Furthermore, children's nutritional data in nurseries, parking permits and digital death certificates were also hacked.

For now, some city services are down. Counters are open to pick up driving licences, identity cards and other documents, but there is sometimes a long wait there. "We must find a solution for all kinds of issues," says press spokesman Delechambre. "We have asked all city services to draw up a list of their priorities. We hope to solve a lot around the weekend."

Nothing is yet known about the perpetrators of the attack. 'There has been no contact with the possible perpetrators yet because we first want to be 100 per cent sure where the attack came from,' says Delechambre.

Two-thirds of ransomware hacks in our country are the work of Russian perpetrator groups. However, it remains to be seen whether they also targeted Antwerp. In late November, it was revealed that the local police in Zwijndrecht had received an unwanted visit from the ransomware group Ragnar several months earlier. They also posted stolen data, including police reports and number plate data, on the dark web.


#FlandersNewsService | Illustration picture shows an aerial view on the skyline of Antwerp with a sunrise, Thursday 22 October 2020.



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