No indication that hackers captured crucial personal data, says Antwerp mayor

"To date, there are no indications that criminals have captured personal data that could seriously harm private citizens," said Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever on Monday, during a press conference about the cyber attack that hit the city on the night of 5-6 December. De Wever reiterated that no negotiations were held with the cyber criminals, and no payment was made. 

De Wever also stated that the city's digital services had been down for the past two weeks as a precautionary "digital lockdown". "The restart could have been faster, but the intention is to be meticulous," he indicates. "Only when security is 100 per cent guaranteed will we put systems back online. A lot of services will restart in the next few days, but activating the very last applications will still take weeks, based on a priority list."

According to the city, part of the reason why no payment was made was the nature of the data captured and the lack of a guarantee of a solution upon payment. "It is not an obvious decision and I understand colleagues in a similar situation taking a different decision," De Wever argues. "But you have no guarantee that captured data won't still be distributed in some other way, that the systems will immediately become operational again after payment, or that the criminals won't strike again."

So why Antwerp disappeared from hacker collective Play's list of affected organisations this weekend is not known. "That is also a mystery to us," said Youri Segers, CEO of Digipolis, the autonomous IT manager of the city of Antwerp.

The data that did get captured is said to include administrative documents on personnel, building plans, finances and insurance, as well as several mail folders.


#FlandersNewsService | The skyline of Antwerp. BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

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