Cybercriminals target just about anyone and everyone with their malware attacks these days. The Dutch parliament website was recently shut down as a result of a major ransomware attack. It is unclear who is behind this activity, although some sources claim Turkish hackers may be responsible. The tension between Turkey and The Netherlands continues to mount and things may escalate sooner rather than later.
The Dutch Parliament Targeted By Ransomware
It is not the first nor the last time governments are the target of a malware attack. Criminals want to ensure they get paid for infecting computers and going after high-value targets is the best way to go. As a result of such an attack, accessing the Dutch parliament website proved to be virtually impossible earlier this week. Some people immediately assumed this was a state-sponsored attack, although it is impossible to pinpoint those responsible.
According to Reuters, the hackers infiltrated a computer responsible for hosting the website and ensured it could no longer be used until the ransom was paid. Then again, no one knows for sure which type of malware was used, or how much money was expected to be paid. We do know Dutch security firm Fox-IT has been investigating the matter, although no specific details have been unveiled at this time.
One thing the firm eagerly told the media is how they believe this is a Turkish state-sponsored ransomware attack. Keeping in mind how The Netherlands and Turkey are not on the same frequency right now, such a conclusion is not entirely surprising. However, without any official proof to back up those claims, such statements will only add more fuel to the fire. It is equally possible another entity was responsible for this ransomware attack.
One thing is for sure: Turkey’s relationship with other EU countries is not the best right now. Assuming Turkish hackers are behind this attack against the Dutch Parliament’s website, it is not unlikely similar attacks may occur against other countries in the future. Banning Turkish ministers from campaigning in cities across The Netherlands and Germany has caused a lot of backlash, drawing even more heated responses from Erdogan in the process.
Ever since the ransomware attack was detected, the Dutch parliament stated how they have taken “the necessary steps” to deal with this incident. It is unclear what this means exactly and whether or not some form of retaliation can be expected. Once state-sponsored attacks take place, the situation usually deteriorates rather quickly. Until the official investigation is concluded and made public, we will never know who is responsible for this type of attack.
What is rather troubling is how criminals successfully infected a vital computer with ransomware. Government computers should be protected against these types of attacks. Then again, it is possible the malware was planted due to a staff member opening an email attachment or clicking a malicious link. Attacks like these should never be allowed to materialize in the first place, yet this one got through somehow.
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