One year after the cyber attack on the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, the consequences are still being felt there. “Until even the employees don’t notice anything anymore, I assume that we still have a good two months to do,” said District Administrator Andy Grabner (CDU) of the dpa.
95 percent of the employees in the branch offices have now been integrated into the new structure. However, the citizens should largely not notice anything anymore.
Hunting, weapon or fishing licenses could also be applied for again. In some cases, however, there are still arrears, such as with the driver’s license authority, added a spokesman for the district. Of the 6,500 open cases for the mandatory driver’s license exchange, around 700 still have to be processed. “We can still do that,” said the spokesman. The deadline for the exchange for the years 1953 to 1958 is July 19th.
Not enough helping hands
Actually, the district wanted to have left the cyber attack behind for a long time. On the one hand, there were no external service providers to install the applications, according to District Administrator Grabner. On the other hand, there is still a lack of specialists who can convey the newly installed system to users. In addition, data in one area could not be restored. They were lost a year ago.
On July 6, 2021, several servers in the district were infected with so-called ransomware. Data is encrypted in the process. After paying a ransom, they should then be released again. The district refused to pay the money. Three days later, on July 9, the outgoing District Administrator Uwe Schulze (CDU) declared disaster mode – the first nationwide due to a cyber attack. Three days later, the new District Administrator Andy Grabner took office. According to estimates, the district incurred costs of around two million euros as a result of the attack. Disaster mode was lifted again in February 2022.
Regular training for employees
In the meantime, the technical infrastructure has been updated according to the standards of the Federal Office for Information Security. The district also wants to prevent this. “Of course, we are now also striving for regular training of employees in the IT area,” said Grabner. The district also wants to increase its IT staff.
Meanwhile, the search for the perpetrators continues. “We also make judicial requests for legal assistance abroad,” said a spokesman for the State Criminal Police Office. It is not clear how long the investigation will take. The district does not have high hopes that the perpetrators will be arrested. “The group is known, but the individual people behind it will not be found in my view,” said District Administrator Grabner.
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