This Thursday was a quiet day for the town halls of the province with regard to cybersecurity, since they only received 1,900 cyber attacks in 24 hours. All were aborted by the cyber defense system that connects the consistories with the Alicante Provincial Council. During a normal day, intrusions far exceed 2,000, a high figure that has forced the institutions to take action. Information technologies are part of the daily routine. In fact, most of our personal data or bank accounts are digitized. We constantly hear the threats made via the internet to companies and individuals, but what happens when municipalities are the victims? This threat generates a major concern because, in the face of the slightest vulnerability, cybercriminals They could have access to certain data or even block the invoice records. Aware of the increases in these frauds, the Provincial Council has taken a step forward to abort each one of these attacks and protect the systems, both of the Provincial Palace and of the municipalities, with a annual investment of around 300,000 euros.
Under the initiative and coordination of the deputy Adrián Ballester, The institution has set itself the firm objective of storing sensitive information in robust databases to avoid misappropriation, thus making up for the technological deficiencies of the municipalities. To do this, it uses a state-of-the-art double firewall barrier, which allows it to identify and stop this activity. But, in addition, through the configuration of an interconnection network between the Provincial Council and the Generalitat, the town councils of the province have guaranteed secure access to services and data provided by both administrations and by the bodies attached to that network. The objective is to protect against fraud, prevent data from being stolen and facilitate the exchange of information and access to services quickly and safely. In fact, Adrián Ballester has held different meetings with José Manuel García Duarte, General Director of Information Technologies and Communications of the Consell, to discuss the project developed by both administrations.
In just one month, three important institutions have been victims of these invisible threats. A computer attack paralyzed the services of the SEPE, in charge of managing unemployment benefits. This same week, the Castellón City Council suffered an intrusion that rendered inoperative the electronic headquarters, the tax portal and the municipal website, as well as the internal computer system of the local Administration, which has around 1,300 workers. According to the technical services, it was an automated attack consisting of encrypting information without actually accessing it or downloading data. Also several weeks ago, the computer services of the Community of Murcia They detected a cyberattack against their educational platform, which forced the activation of the security protocol, which includes changing the access passwords and notifying those who could be affected so that they could change them again.
Knowing that an activity of this type can keep an entire town hall in suspense, the Provincial Council is focused, above all, on prevention . In fact, it periodically issues a bulletin on cybersecurity to warn of current risks and threats in the field of information technology, and to offer information on good practices to officials and workers of the provincial institution. The Information Technology and Telecommunications Service is in charge of preparing this informative material with which it is intended, as highlighted by Adrián Ballester, «Safeguard the work of the employees of the Provincial Council and the very institution of a possible digital catastrophe ». In his opinion, “just as we protect our homes from burglars by performing proactive tasks such as closing doors or checking windows, we must anticipate and protect ourselves in the digital realm by performing basic tasks.” The cybersecurity newsletter will be sent periodically to the Diputación workers with “information pills” on risks, threats, good practices and any other type of useful content. In addition, the institution is conducting an audit of the information systems and cybersecurity mechanisms through the Audit Office to analyze its situation with respect to the rest of the public administrations. But, in addition, the Provincial Council is preparing a Data Processing Center to store all the electronic information of the municipalities of the province and to serve as a backup center to store digital documentation. The building will be located on a plot next to the psychiatric hospital, on the Sant Joan road.
Cyberattacks have a multitude of objectives and also different techniques. There are some that make a network service inaccessible. There are others that try to take advantage of vulnerabilities in programs that have not yet been discovered and another of the most frequent methods is called phishing, identity theft characterized by fraudulently attempting to acquire confidential information. In these cases, the cybercriminal impersonates a trusted person or company to access confidential data.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.