Cyberattack in the city Antwerp and our Network Isolation

Cyberattack in the city Antwerp and our Network Isolation

December 6, 2022

The city of Antwerp has once again become a victim of cybercrime. In a few weeks' time, Antwerp, or a police zone from Antwerp, became the victim of cybercriminals.The question that we ask ourselves at Jimber is: “Can the Zero Trust principle offer a solution for organizations that are increasingly victims of cybercrime?” This is rather a rhetorical question because we have long been convinced that computer networks, and particularly the segments of these networks, must be much better protected.

How Network Isolation can help against cyberattacks

That's why we've been working with our Network Isolation for some time at Jimber. Network Isolation creates a network segmentation that can be implemented very hands-on in any organization. In case of a cyber attack like the city of Antwerp experienced once again, only a limited part of your network has been attacked, not the entire network.The most important features of Network Isolation are:

  • Micro-segmentation of the network
  • Verification of every user
  • Verification of every device (printer, scanner, IP camera, etc.)
  • Encrypted traffic between the users and/or IP-devices
  • Default no access for users by means of the “zero trust principle”
  • No expensive hardware is needed (layer 3 switches, trunks,...)
  • Easy management and overview of your network

How bad the damage for the city of Antwerp is at the moment, remains to be determined, but if we look back at the hack that took place at the neighboring municipality of Zwijndrecht in early September, it doesn’t bode well. That time, thousands of license plates, speeding fines, and even PVs with photographs of minors were leaked.

The consequences of a cyberattack

The reason for the hack in September was a poorly secured server at the police, something our Network Isolation could have been a solution for. This disturbance is expressed in the following irregularities:

  • Logging into the portal of Antwerp is not possible
  • It isn’t possible to make an appointment online
  • The reservation system of the city museums is unreachable
  • It’s only possible to apply for travel passes at the counters

Alexandra d’Archambeau, district councilor for the Open VLD in Wilrijk, has clearly also been bothered by this disturbance and is asking for more cybersecurity in Belgium. This is something we have been working toward for years at Jimber Cybercrime has been on a rise in the last decades, so we must not rest and continue to work toward a safe world where cybercrime doesn’t have a chance.Sources:

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Kristof Van Stappen en Jonas Delrue van Jimber
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