The Anhalt-Bergerfeld region in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt says it has been hit by a cyber attack and has officially declared a disaster after hackers hacked into its computer systems.
According to the Federal Bureau of Information Security (BSI), which is investigating the crime, this is the country’s first “cyber disaster”.
Local officials confirmed the crime on Friday, saying that “this attack directly affects the entire scope of the county’s services, including the businesses of its citizens, which cannot currently be remedied.”
“We are almost completely paralyzed,” a district spokesman told Reuters news agency on Saturday.
Officials say the attack occurred on Tuesday and the district will likely remain offline for at least a week until it cannot pay benefits to beneficiaries or fund youth programs.
An official declaration of the disaster will allow the region of 158,000 people to receive federal aid as it seeks to resume work to help its citizens.
Who launched a cyber attack on a small area in rural Germany?
The deputies did not say who was behind the attack or whether there were any ransom demands.
Officials say the attack infected several servers and the region immediately shut down critical systems to prevent further data leaks. No information was provided about how much data was actually compromised.
Police and BSI experts are currently investigating the attack to verify the source and analyze the virus in order to neutralize it. Experts hope to be able to give an initial assessment on Monday.
A British Standards Institute spokesman said other German regions and municipalities had been attacked in the past, but none had declared a disaster.
Despite its small size, the crime is the latest in a growing number of cyber attacks on infrastructure around the world.
Above all, the shutdown of the colonial pipeline in May in the largest-ever cyber attack on America’s oil infrastructure; Another person hacked into the systems of Kaseya, an IT company whose software is used by thousands of companies in dozens of countries around the world, in July in what it called the “largest ransomware attack ever”.
js/csb (dpa, Reuters)