The Government of the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu is still offline after being hit by a cyberattack nearly 3 weeks ago.
This cyberattack incident has caused inconvenience to nearly 320,000 people. Many are struggling to access services, while many civil servants are forced to use paper and pen to carry out routine work.
The bad actors have been able to infiltrate the government network, and official sites on Nov. 6, according to One news outlet.
Glen Craig, the managing partner of Pacific Advisory, a consulting firm that works with businesses and governments in the Pacific, including Vanuatu’s government said, “Everything runs on email here, so the email outages are causing a lot of issues. If you’ve got things in processes like building permits or residency applications or work permits — all those services have been held up.”
The incident has not only affected the emergency services but also has a police hotline disabled for about a week. Salaries of government workers were delayed and also affect the payment of tax on time. With many people forced to use pen and paper
Pat Conroy, the minister for the Pacific for Australia, the biggest neighbor to Vanuatu in a press conference said, “We immediately made offers of assistance and we sent in a team to assist with that disgraceful cyberattack and the response, and we are working through the process of bringing the government I.T. systems back up to speed.”
Earlier Sydney Morning Herald in Australia reported, the hackers had demanded a ransom, which the government had refused to pay.
According to Mr. Craig, the consultant, it was “disappointing” that Vanuatu’s government did not have more extensive contingency plans for keeping services going in the event of a prolonged network outage.
He further added, “Some departments have been good, they’ve immediately gone on their social media and said ‘these are the alternative Gmail accounts for our staff. Other departments — no, I wouldn’t have any idea of how to communicate with them.”
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