Municipality of Willebroek victim of cyber-attack

The Municipality of Willebroek in Antwerp Province has become the victim of a cyber-attack by hackers demanding payment in exchange for the removal of so-called “ransom software” from the municipal authority’s servers. The news that Willebroek Council’s servers had been hacked appeared on the local authority’s website on Saturday. The hackers are demanding payment in the e-currency bitcoin. 

The issues first came to light on Friday evening when employees of one of the municipal authority’s care homes encountered problems when trying to use its IT system.

The Mayor of Willebroek Eddy Bevers (nationalist) told journalists that "What is clear is that all computers are not working. Everything at our authority is out of order. We are going to have to make do without computer for a time, but we aren’t going to take any risks with regard to security”.

A municipal crisis cell lead by the Mayor met on Saturday afternoon to assess the damage and it consequences as well as considering possible solutions to resolve the IT issues.

"We will, for example, look at where we will need to deploy extra staff in order to be able to manage without the IT systems”.  

The municipality has reported the incident to the police. Mayor Bevers stressed that Willebroek Council has absolutely no intention of paying the ransom demanded by the hackers.

The hacking in Willebroek comes almost two weeks after the West Flemish weaving machine manufacture Picanol’s IT systems were hacked by hackers that deployed ransom software.