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Impending hacker attack: City of Potsdam remains offline after hacker attack


No registration and deregistration of vehicles, issuance of certificates of good conduct or documents from the registry office: These are the consequences of the preventive measures in Potsdam due to the warning of a hacker attack.

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Potsdam city center: The city administration does not want to start up its IT again until next week


Soeren Stache/ DPA

After information from security authorities that a hacker attack was imminent, the Potsdam city administration severed its connection to the Internet last Thursday - and has not restored it since then.

The employees of the Potsdam city administration are still not available by email, the city administration announced on Monday evening.

Agreed appointments are secured.

But citizens have to accept restrictions because services are not working.

It is therefore not possible to issue express passports, register and deregister vehicles and issue certificates of good conduct.

The document office of the registry office is currently not available, it is said.

E-mails to report child endangerments could not be processed - instead, the administration asks for a telephone report to the youth welfare office, as telephones and faxes continue to work.

At the end of last week, the municipal companies also switched off the Internet connection for security reasons.

The city administration only intends to gradually start up the IT systems again next week.

Extensive safety tests are required beforehand, the city said.

A crisis management team had previously discussed further steps.

If the tests are successful and further precautions have been taken in coordination with the security authorities, the systems should then gradually go back into operation.

Mayor demands a turning point in »cyber security«

In addition to the warning from the security authorities, the state capital also recognized a so-called brute force attack on its systems on December 29.

In such attacks, someone usually tries to penetrate a system by trying out access data en masse.

However, the administration did not disclose any details.

Mayor Mike Schubert (SPD) explained: "Thanks to the good cooperation with the security authorities and the preparation of the IT departments of the city and the municipal companies, access to our systems and damage could probably be prevented".

At the same time, the SPD politician emphasized that the effort to protect oneself against unscrupulous criminals on the Internet is increasing.

Locally, this can hardly be managed by the cities and municipalities.

The cases of cyber attacks on hospitals, municipalities and public utilities in the last two years alone are worrying.

"We therefore need a turning point in the investment of the federal and state governments in cyber security," says Schubert.

The Potsdam city administration was already the victim of a hacker attack in early 2020 and then shut down its servers for around a week.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-01-03

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