Belgium’s parliament and universities hit by cyber attack

Belnet is a Belgian internet provider for educational institutions, research centres, scientific institutes and government services.

The site was under heavy DDoS attack beginning on May 4 that impacted the ability of parliament to meet and for students to access  their online services.  Online reservation systems for vaccination centres were also temporarily down, according to EuroNews.

Their most recent status updates tell the story:

Belnet network under DDoS-attack

Due to a DDoS-attack some Belnet customers are experiencing connectivity problems. Our teams are working hard to mitigate the attacks and to restore connectivity. Belnet customers can contact our Service Desk at 02 790 33 00. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Belnet has continued to make arrangements to put in place protection mechanisms and escalation paths to protect its customers against future attacks. A longer term solution has also been initiated. We have been treating the last side effects of the attack in close consultation with individual customers. We are continuing our efforts tonight to advance on the longer term solution. After this is in place, we will remove the current short term measures and close the incident. We will keep you posted by means of this status page.

5 hours agoThe situation remains stable. However, we remain vigilant to counter any new attempts. Remainder incidents are being treated in close collaboration with the impacted customers with the necessary priority. Belnet customers can contact our Service Desk at 02 790 33 00. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The situation was under control last night, and as of the time of this publication, the status is currently reported as:

 Belnet network available again, our teams remain vigilant.
In a statement issued today, they write, in part (translated):

The attack under control

Belnet immediately activated its crisis procedures and contacted the Center for Cybersecurity Belgium (CCB) in order to contain the attack. Since Tuesday evening, the attack has been fully under control. The Belnet teams are continuing to monitor the situation minute by minute.

“We are fully aware of the impact on the organizations connected to our network and their users and we are aware that this has profoundly disrupted their functioning. Belnet continually invests in cybersecurity. However, yesterday’s DDoS attack was of such a scale that our entire network was saturated. The fact that the perpetrators of the attack constantly changed tactics made it even more difficult to neutralize it “, explains Dirk Haex, technical director at Belnet

The authors have not yet been identified

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a cyber attack that prevents the availability of a certain service. It is therefore not a breach or theft of data. There is no indication that cybercriminals have infiltrated any network. Everything indicates that the attack was aimed solely at saturating the Belnet network.

For now, it is still unclear who is behind this attack. Further investigation will have to prove it. Belnet filed a complaint with the Federal Computer Crime Unit.

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