The departmental council of Seine-et-Marne, located in the Paris region, has been the target of a cyber-attack since the beginning of the month. On Thursday, he announced that he had refused to pay the $10 million ransom demanded by the hackers.
This “large-scale” attack, launched on November 6, caused the paralysis of the IT services of this local authority, whose powers range from social assistance to road and university management, via tourism or culture. From that date, the Department’s digital services are no longer operational.
No data loss found
The hack was discovered on Monday morning the 7th, when officers noticed they could no longer use their computers. The ransom note was only discovered a few days ago, because prioritization had been given to “securing” the systems, the provincial council tracked down, without providing more details on the perpetrators.
The investigation, opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office, is in the hands of police officers specialized in the fight against cybercrime. At this stage “we are not aware of any personal data leaks”, underlined Jean-François Paris, president of the departmental council, specifying however that the checks are still ongoing.
Not a first
Social benefits such as the salaries of the agents “are paid” by virtue of the “continuity of services”, he added, without anticipating the time needed for a return to normality. “All the agents continue to work” but “in the old-fashioned way”, on paper or via cell phones made available to make up for the now unusable fixed numbers, he explained.
With an annual budget of €1.5 billion, the departmental council is responsible for paying social allowances for the elderly, destitute or disabled to “tens of thousands of beneficiaries”. In the face of this cyberattack, the vote on the next budget has been postponed to early 2023.
In France, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital in the Paris region in August, the city of Caen (west) in September or the Seine-Maritime department (northwest) in October have already suffered the brunt of cyber attacks. At the end of September, the health data of users and staff of the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital, who had refused to pay a ransom, had been disclosed on the “dark web” (websites not referenced by traditional browsers).