AntwerpOn the night between December 5 and 6, strangers hacked the servers of Digipolis, the city of Antwerp’s IT partner. As a result, many city services ran into problems. Making agreements with the Population Agency, in the container park or with the police is currently impossible. Urban education and the care centers of Zorgbedrijf were also affected. The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Antwerp has launched an investigation into the unprecedented cyber attack.
SEE. Several people stand at District House Deurne for nothing: “The system is completely down”
The emergency services such as the fire department and police continue to work and can be reached by phone via the well-known emergency numbers 101 and 112. The e-counter in the Antwerp police zone will also remain available, the e-forms from the fire department are not available at the moment. Booking an appointment with the Population Agency or recording a visit to the container park is also currently impossible.
Furthermore, the IT system of Zorgbedrijf Antwerpen was also affected by the cyber attack. For its part, the Care Association reports this afternoon that they can again be reached by telephone. Customer service is also operational again.
CEO Johan De Munck from Zorgbedrijf calls the problems relatively minor, even though this morning there was great unrest about the possible hacking of the databases with patient data.
“The only thing that has really affected us is that our healthcare providers at our eighteen care centers have switched back to pen and paper. Medicines for the elderly are again given on the basis of traditional paper prescriptions. Normally that medication is automatically prescribed and stored in the computer, but this is not possible at the moment. The doctors must now sign prescriptions, which we then deliver to the pharmacy. Lots of paperwork, but everyone gets their meds today. My estimate is that everything can go automatically again tomorrow morning. There was no need to worry about hacking and leaking of our patient data. These databases were not affected by the cyber attack.”
The port authority also had to deal with attacks on its computer system. Those attacks were repelled and had no impact on services, the port authority said.
The cyber attack targeted the central servers of Digipolis, the IT partner in the city of Antwerp. Many city services and the police are associated with Digipolis for their administrative software, such as the Outlook applications. Most city employees and the police still can’t send email. This afternoon Digipolis would inform all city services how to proceed.
Ransomware is said to have been found on the city’s servers, software that blocks access to a computer system or encrypts certain data, rendering it unusable. The cyber attack has an impact on various tools and systems, as a result of which they neither work nor work less. The crisis cell assesses the impact of the hacking and makes every effort to get the systems up and running again as soon as possible. It is currently unclear how long the problems will last.
Spokesman Kristof Aerts from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Antwerp reports that an investigation into the cyber attack has been launched.
In early September, hackers already entered computers in the neighboring municipality of Zwijndrecht. Thousands of license plates, speeding tickets and even PVs with images of minors were then leaked through a poorly secured server at the police.
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