An East Germany district council has declared a cyber-catastrophe after a cyberattack paralyzed its computer systems. The hackers managed to take down the IT systems of the municipality of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The council has confirmed its systems will remain offline for the next week with no indication of when services will resume.
The cyberattack is believed to be the first occurrence in Germany of a formal declaration of “cyber-catastrophe.” No hacker group has yet come forward and claim responsibility for the attack, and it is not known whether a ransomware demand has been given to the council.
Germany’s BSI cybersecurity agency has sent a crisis team to the council to aid in investigating and recovering IT services.
The cyberattack comes on the back of an increasing cyber threat landscape, with ransomware gangs increasing their attack surface and actively seeking targets to attack and exploit ransom demands.
The cyberattack should be another timely reminder for organizations to prioritize their cybersecurity posture and update systems, install software patches and prepare themselves for a cyberattack.