The city of Antwerp, Belgium, is working to restore its digital services which were disrupted last night by a cyber attack on its digital provider.

The disruption affected services used by citizens, schools, childcare centers and the police, which operate intermittently today.

Messaging and phone systems disrupted

An investigation is ongoing, but the limited information available points to an as yet undisclosed threat actor ransomware attack.

According Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN), hackers were able to disrupt Antwerp’s services after hacking into the servers of Digipolis, the city’s digital partner that provides administrative software.

The publication also notes that almost all Windows applications were impacted.

Telephone service for some departments was also unavailable. Alexandra d’ArchambeauWilrijk district council member, said earlier today that the city’s courier service was down.

Wilrijk reports that Antwerp's messaging system is down
Email and the decision-making platform in Antwerp are not available

From Standard reports that it has received confirmation that ransomware was the cause of the disruption from an actor that has yet to be determined.

The problems also extend to the city’s reservation system, which has been shut down, leaving people unable to receive their ID cards. Today, only transport cards could be collected.

Residential centers impacted

Other services affected by the attack include those of the Antwerp Health Society (Zorgbedrijf Antwerpen), which provides residential care services to elderly people in the province.

Johan De Muynck, chief executive of Zorgbedrijf, said the attack rendered software that kept track of who was to receive medication inoperable.

This forced staff at 18 residential care centers to switch to pen and paper and rely on traditional paper prescriptions for older people who needed them.

“Doctors now have to sign prescriptions which we then deliver to the pharmacy. Lots of paperwork, but everyone gets their medications today. My estimate is that everything can automatically start again tomorrow morning,” De Muynck said.

In this case, resident information and resident information remains safe because the database was not affected by the attack, De Muynck added.

It is unclear when Antwerp’s IT systems will become fully functional, the mayor of Antwerp said the impact could last until the end of December.

Although police and firefighters have also been affected, emergency services continue to be available.

A little over a week ago, the Ragnar Locker ransomware gang leak of data stolen from the local police unit in Zwijndrechtmunicipality in the province of Antwerp.

The leaked information was described by Belgian media as one of the country’s biggest public service thefts. The cache reportedly included car plates, crime report records, investigation reports and fines from the past 16 years.





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