The government faces an attack, but not the Ministry of Economy: “They do not have enough budget for cyber security”

According to an official on the 14th floor of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation who spoke to ABC, their computer network had suffered a cyberattack. However, the official account of the institutional body a twitter The news is denied: “No department of the ministry has received information about the said attack. Nor has any investigation been initiated by the police. All cyber security systems are active.”

Francisco Valencia, general director of Secure & IT, pointed to 20BITS as the press possibly Mixed “attack on the neutral point of the General Council of the Judiciary [confirmado en la web de Poder Judicial España] with an attack on the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs”. Furthermore, it clarifies that “it is rare that an attack on a ministry’s website is accessed from a neutral point” as it is usually “places where Where the information is located has nothing to do with the server.

They from Secure&IT believe that it is possible that simultaneous attacks have been launched and that the above ministry has encountered an incident. At the same time, Juan Francisco Moreda, head of Fibratel’s cyber security unit, tells about this article that What usually happens in these cases is that the public administration investigates and that, in this case, “they have led the ministry to deny this specific cyberattack”, although it is possible that the investigation will continue.

Marco Gomez, from Academic Affairs and Career Support at 4Greeks, admits to 20BITS that he cannot establish who is telling the truth, but says it is not unusual for an institution to be under attack. Experts explain, “It is enough for someone with an account on the internal network to open the wrong email and run a virus that spreads to other computers.”

Attack on the General Council of the Judiciary

Although the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has denied that there has been a cyber attack on its computer network, it does not mean that no government site has been accessed. As mentioned above, the website of the Spanish Judiciary confirmed that its General Council was affected in the second fortnight of October, specifically Judicial neutral point, telecommunications network that links judicial bodies with other state institutions.

The official version states that the attackers did not access “data related to legal proceedings or other information held by courts and tribunals”. In this regard, La Vanguardia reports that access has been obtained from the SARA network to the ‘Analysis’ department, which is in charge of preparing economic forecast why Employment data, sector production, loans and confidential information of large companies are studied. Although it will not admit that the network of the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been breached, it can justify the information given by some media.

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Most common cyber crime against public administration

Valencia details for 20BITS that there are two computer attacks that can be considered the most common when the victim is a state institution. “to whom it belongs denial of service [ransomware]which prevents the administration from doing its job,” he says. The second is from information theft, The attackers are looking for information and money.”

However, Secure&IT experts assure that it is not necessary to be closed for attacks that have money as their objective, as there are other factors at play, such as ” Cyber ​​war, political motivations, party instability he is in charge of an administration or receive data,

The person in charge of cyber security at Fibretel agrees that economic gain is not the only incentive in attacks on public administration and they also seek to damage the administration’s reputation. In your case, highlight malware and phishing as the most commonly used strategy.

Gomez underlines the existence of cyber attacks directed at other states, who seek to break or breach systems, or so-called ‘hacktivists’, such as Anonymous.

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How does misinformation about attacks affect the administration?

“The public administration handles very sensitive data of a large part of the population as well as state security,” Moreda recalls recalling. Damage to the reputation of this unit And, therefore, to the state in general. It can also have a negative impact on the country’s economy.”

Information about the attack on the administration is always very popular. Valencia admits that, when it occurs in Spain, it is particularly vulnerable: “Not just because it is a very unstable geopolitical administrationBut because there is also a very clear fight between the administration of the central government, the autonomy and the administration of the town hall and the different autonomous communities,” Valencia says.

Apart from the political situation, Secure & IT experts insist on “The administration has never had enough budget to protect itself in terms of cyber security.” “And, even if they had that budget, they don’t have the tools, knowledge or culture needed for cyber security,” he noted.

There are attacks on state institutions that are particularly notorious, as Valencia recalls, such as SEPE one which happened in March 2021, the attack to the Ministry of Laborattack for Catalan health who exposed patient data and now attack For judicial neutral point.

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“Hoaxes are dangerous, and security is even more so. Cybersecurity hoaxes affect confidence, create panic, and can lead to chaos and unpredictable reactions in populations,” Gomez says. “Imagine that it is said that the Treasury database has been hijacked, can generate large movements of money and destabilize the economy“, exemplified.

Thus public administration is protected

moreda points Amount of sensitive data handled by public administration Population and security of the state. As Fibratel professionals point out, it is important that they have preventive measures in place, such as employee awareness:

“The human team should be sensitized about the importance of not clicking on suspicious links or opening documents, the sender of which is unknown. It is true that we should continue to work on awareness, but more often than not Used to be”.

According to Valencia, the administrations do not take adequate measures to protect their websites and services. “They are not implementing the security measures that should be taken,” he says. There is a level of civil service concerned about security And that they are ready to implement adequate measures, but they are faced with breaks in work, limited budgets and some negligence in managing the administration”.

Unlike Valencia, Gomez from Geeks4 believes that “organizations of the utmost importance, public or private, have a considerable awareness of the importance of cyber security.” he mentions It tends to ‘fail’ more at the regional or local level.

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