Portugal's PM says government concerned by the wave of cyberattacks on institutions

Visão magazine and other titles targetted in yet another cyberattack

Wednesay morning has seen yet another cyberattack hit the headlines, this time on Visão magazine, and other titles in the “Trust in News” group.

The good aspect of this latest assault is that the sites have remained ‘up’ and the situation is being evaluated. 

A source for the group has stressed that no critical system appears to have been compromised, and “systems of alert and security were immediately actioned”.

All this has happened as the Vodafone hack is still not fully resolved (click here).

PM António Costa has admitted this morning that the government is “concerned” by what has been happening in Portugal since early January (cyber intruders have accessed various IT networks, including systems in hospitals, causing multiple problems) and sees the incidents as clear sign that “companies have to prevent and reinforce their means of cybersecurity”.

Roughly 4.7 million users found themselves without service when Vodafone’s systems were hacked on Monday night ; INEM (medical emergency response), firefighters, PJ police were all severely compromised; numerous ATMs ‘went down’ – even criminals on ‘electronic tags’ could not be monitored.

As reports have since attested, the attack – described by Vodafone bosses as a “terrorist, criminal act” – shows this is a new age form of crime that could “knock on the door of any business”.

A cautionary text in Diário de Notícias on Wednesday suggests that while cybersecurity experts have been ‘surprised’ by the dimension of the Vodafone attack (believing it will have taken months of planning), they are quite certain this is a type of crime that is here to stay.

The baffling aspect of all the hacks so far is motive. For example, no ransoms are ‘demanded’ for restitution of any of the damage, or assurances that it won’t go further.

According to Manuel Dias, a senior consultant in cybernetic risk for the Marsh consultancy, “human life has become increasingly digitalised, transferring wealth from the physical world to the digital” and thus this is where this crime is directed: digital wealth.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com