The city hall of Lille (North) announced on Wednesday, March 1 that it had been the victim of a cyberattack. “All utilities at City Hall, District City Halls and all of our equipment are operational with adapted performance,” the city wrote in a press release.
On the other hand, the city switchboard, as well as landline telephones of sports and cultural institutions, are currently unavailable. Communication should be restored within 24 hours on March 2. Some administrative procedures, such as civil status, may also take longer.
“Technical diagnostics are currently ongoing to determine the origin and severity of the intrusion,” the mayor’s office wrote again. No problems have been observed so far with the data stored in the computer system or on the servers. Once the intrusion was discovered, “security and data protection measures” were taken by the National Computer Security Agency (Anssi) on Wednesday at 11:40 pm, according to the mayor’s office.
A complaint was filed and the Judicial Police launched an investigation. All computers of the municipal services of Lille, Hellemmes and Lomme (Lille’s sister city) were switched off until a diagnosis was made. Meanwhile, the security cameras in the city continue to work.
Local communities, the second favorite target of hackers
In its annual Cyber Threat Report, Anssi noted that local governments were the second most popular target for attackers (23% of ransomware processed or delivered to Anssi in 2022), after VSE, SME and ETI (40%), but ahead of state governments. healthcare institutions (10%). According to the agency, attackers are now targeting “service providers, vendors, contractors, regulators and their broader ecosystem of targets” as well as their firewalls, routers and peripherals to gain “invisible and persistent access to the network.” networks of their victims.
However, 65% of communities with a population of less than 3,500 consider cyber risk to be low or do not know how to assess it, according to a study by Cybermalveillance.gouv.fr, an attack victim assistance platform. A guide on the subject was published in July by the National Commission on Computing and Liberties (Cnil) for local elected officials and territorial agents to remind them of their cybersecurity obligations and responsibilities.
Last September, the city of Caen (Calvados) was the victim of a cyberattack that took down the city’s website, internal messaging services and civil status services. A similar attack targeted the Normandy region in February, rendering regional websites inaccessible. Guadeloupe, the departments of Seine-Maritime and Seine-et-Marne were also affected.
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