A yet-unknown threat actor launched a DDoS attack against the internet network used by the public administration and other official institutions in Belgium, briefly bringing the system down.
Large-scale DDoS attacks are not uncommon, but systems are usually in place to deal with them so services are not affected. On the other hand, a DDoS attack that can cripple a dedicated network, even for a short time, is not something we see every day.
According to a Euractiv report, Belgian authorities reported the attack on Belnet’s internet network (a network between various public institutions and administration) started on Tuesday at noon and lasted about a day.
Almost 200 institutions and organizations felt the attack, including a few parliamentary committees. In fact, Wallonia-Brussels Federation’s parliament had to suspend its online meetings because participants could no longer connect remotely to the proceedings.
“Due to the health situation, some of the parliamentarians intervene remotely via the Cisco Webex system, but the internet connection problem generated by the cyberattack does not guarantee the continuation of the debates,” said a parliamentarian.
The attack also spilled into other administration areas, including vaccination centers that couldn’t access online reservation systems.
For now, the source of the attack is unknown, as along with its intent. Unfortunately, criminals could use DDoS attacks for a variety of reasons. Some groups bring services down just for the fun of it, but others have clear agendas. A large and successful DDoS attack can be used to cover up more sinister attacks, like data breaches or deliberate infections. Until the authorities finish their investigation, the true motive of the attack will remain a mystery.