What consequences will the cyber attack have on the Lazio Region?

What consequences will the cyber attack have on the Lazio Region?

All health and administrative services have been blocked, but for the regional authorities no personal data has been compromised and no ransom demand has arrived. But the experts disagree

(Photo: Annette Riedl / Getty Images) The cyber attack that hit the Lazio Region has not only blocked the system that manages the booking of vaccines, but all the services connected to the Data processing center (Ced), the system that manages the entire regional IT infrastructure. As soon as the technicians of the Region became aware of the problem, to avoid the spread of the attack and the theft of data, they deactivated the entire system, making all the health services and other administrative services managed by the region inaccessible.

What problems are there for citizens?

Since Sunday in Lazio it has been impossible to book specialist visits online, carry out Pap tests or mammograms already scheduled, pay car tax or obtain health and building permits. Furthermore, all vaccination campaign management systems are blocked, so it is not possible to book appointments to get vaccinated and the records of vaccinations already carried out are taking place on the national registry website, with methods that take longer than normal. The councilor for health Alessio D'Amato, in a press conference reported by RaiNews, said that the delays for the issuance of green passes will not be more than 24 hours, but that there could also be delays in the communication of the results of the swabs . The attack also heavily affected people suffering from serious clinical conditions, who cannot access regional assistance services such as supplies of food or medical supplies.

Has data been stolen?

The president of the region, Nicola Zingaretti, said that all health, financial and budget data are safe. According to this, therefore, the criminals would not have stolen information from the system, which contains the health data of 5.8 million people. However, for attacks of this magnitude it may take a long time to quantify all the actual damage.

How long will it take to unlock everything?

According to Corriere della Sera, it could take at least two weeks, but at the moment it is difficult to establish an exact timing, also due to the limited information shared by the authorities. Zingaretti announced that essential health services are being transferred to an external cloud system, to create a kind of computer system alternative to the blocked one. However, it is not yet clear when the transfer will be completed or what specific services it is. Furthermore, the attack also involved the only backup of the computer system in the region and if the key to access the data is not recovered, it cannot be restored.

What is known so far about the attack ?

Zingaretti called it a "terrorist attack" because, he said in the press conference reported by Sole24ore, "no ransom request was formalized either in bitcoin or in other forms of currencies". According to the president of the region, "an invitation to contact an alleged attacker appears on the web page of the virus," which has not yet been done. Based on this information, it is difficult to understand why the systems would have been encrypted without the ultimate aim of demanding a ransom. In fact, if the goal had been the destruction of data, these would have already been deleted, but destructive attacks of this type are generally very rare. Stefano Zanero, professor of the Politecnico di Milano expert in computer security, explained on Twitter that a ransomware attack of this type is always aimed at a ransom, because "if one wants to do damage and that's it, he has no reason to encrypt" data but “just plane the whole plane”, that is, destroy. Furthermore, according to Professor Zanero, it would be too early to affirm that no data has been compromised, but also that it would make no sense to speak of a danger to national security "even if someone has stolen President Mattarella's health data".

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