Belgium's government network goes down after massive DDoS attack
Most of the Belgium government's IT network has been down today after a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack knocked offline both internal systems and public-facing websites.
The attack targeted Belnet, a government-funded ISP that provides internet connectivity for Belgian government organizations, such as its Parliament, educational institutes, ministries, and research centers.
The incident, which Belnet is still dealing with at the time of writing, is believed to have impacted the activities of more than 200 Belgian government organizations.
Impacted services include My Minfin, the government's official tax- and form-filing portal, but also IT systems used by schools and universities for remote learning applications.
In a tweet today, the Belgium Justice Department also reported disruptions but did not go into details.
Er is momenteel hinder op het netwerk van justitie. We volgen de situatie bij Belnet mee op. https://t.co/MfghTTQtP1— FODJustitie (@FOD_Justitie) May 4, 2021
The country's COVID-19 vaccine reservation portal, which is hosted on Belnet's infrastructure, has also been down today as a result of the attack.
Parliament and other government activities were also disrupted today, as some meetings couldn't take place as they couldn't be streamed for remote participants due to the ongoing DDoS attack.
According to the official Twitter account for the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, only the Finance and Foreign Relations committee was able to hold a meeting today before others had to be canceled due to the ongoing DDoS attack.
Several Belgium politicians and political observers noted today that the attack started around the same time the Belgium Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee was supposed to hold a meeting and hear a testimony from a survivor of China's Uyghur forced labor camps.
Cyberaanval ook gericht op de Kamer. Begonnen vlak na de middag, o.a. in commissie Buitenlandse Zaken.— Wouter De Vriendt (@WouterDeVriendt) May 4, 2021
Met normaliter voorzien op de agenda: een hoorzitting rond de wandaden van China tegenover de #Oeigoeren...#dekamer
Neither Belnet nor any other Belgium government organization have attributed the DDoS attack to any particular entity and seeing that the attack is still ongoing and would have to be investigated, attribution is currently very far away.
Catalin Cimpanu is a cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.