French municipal services disrupted by cyberattack

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Multiple French municipalities have experienced significant disruptions to public services following a “large-scale cyber attack” on shared servers. The ongoing cyber assault has compromised the operational capacity of crucial local government functions, illustrating the growing threat of digital attacks against public infrastructure.

The affected areas – including Saint-Nazaire, Montoir-de-Bretagne, Donges, La Chapelle-des-marais, and Porniche – reported extensive service outages. Saint-Nazaire city officials have acknowledged the gravity of the situation, stating that “The services of the two communities cannot operate normally.”

Officials have yet to determine the origin or the estimated duration before full services can be restored. 

The severity of this attack brings to mind the recent DDoS onslaught that targeted French government websites without disrupting services. That attack was claimed by Anonymous Sudan, an emerging pro-Russia hacktivist group with supposed connections to Killnet, notorious for its digital disruptions during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Adding to France’s cybersecurity woes, the France Travail department recently announced a massive data breach affecting over 43 million citizens. This breach exposed sensitive information, ranging from social security numbers to contact details.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently aired concerns over potential cyber threats aimed at the Paris Olympics, following Russia’s ban from the global event due to its invasion of Ukraine. Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at the event but not under the Russian flag.

Simultaneously, the US has not been spared from cyber infiltrations. On Thursday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) confirmed that Russian-backed hackers managed to extract emails from US federal agencies by breaching Microsoft’s email systems.

The operation – attributed to a group known as “Midnight Blizzard” or APT29, believed to be aligned with Russia’s SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service) – signifies a heightened cyber espionage threat to governmental communications.

“As America’s cyber defense agency and the operational lead for federal civilian cybersecurity, ensuring that federal civilian agencies are taking all necessary steps to secure their networks and systems is among our top priorities,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly.

“For several years, the US government has documented malicious cyber activity as a standard part of the Russian playbook; this latest compromise of Microsoft adds to their long list. We will continue efforts in collaboration with our federal government and private sector partners to protect and defend our systems from such threat activity.”

As these incidents unfold, federal and municipal entities worldwide are on high alert. The cyberattacks demonstrate the need for fortified cybersecurity measures to protect public services and sensitive information.

(Photo by Sigmund)

See also: NTT: AI risks ‘enormous and irreversible damage’ to society

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