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After Antwerp and Geraardsbergen: why municipalities suddenly seem to be such potential prey for hackers.

Belgian cities and towns are betting on digital services, which immediately makes them potential targets for cyber attacks. This was also identified by the city of Geraardsbergen, which saw its computers encrypted by a LockBit attack and its data published.

In addition, late last year, the city of Antwerp also became a victim, this time of the hacker group Play. As a result all services were disrupted for weeks and continued into locations such as Maldegem and Diest, and you may also remember the attacks on Liège, Floreffe and Willebroek in recent years.

It does seem like cities and towns are potential targets, but that is mostly a matter of perception. If we look at LockBit victims in the EU, for example, they generally fall mainly in the service sector, in the financial sector and in the manufacturing industry.

Among Belgian victims, the public sector ranks second, after the service sector. What is particularly striking is that public institutions are often the ones who speak openly about an attack.

'Companies are not always going to make it public that they have been attacked. You can understand that, because the possibility exists that they will suffer financial loss as a result,' says Steven De Munter, business security consultant at Orange Cyberdefense. 'But when a city or town is a victim, you do want to know about it, because it's your data.'

Read full article on DataNews [Dutch]

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