Cyber hackers attack 20 Government websites

The Vanuatu Computer Emergency Response Team is investigating a cyber-attack by hackers this week on important Government websites.

The Cyber Security Technical Advisor for the team, Jeff Garae, says the attack from an unknown country, happened on Tuesday this week at 1:00 pm.

He says the online attack blocked many important Government websites and was part of a wider cyber-attack on other countries.

“The hackers have gone into the Government’s core internet server and have blocked 20 Government websites,” Mr Garae said.

“The National Computer Emergency Response Team believes an organised crime group launched this attack.

“The group made the same attack in other countries at the same time on Tuesday.”

Mr Garae said the Computer Emergency Response Team “quickly detected the hackers on the day the attack took place” but its response was slowed down because of “inadequate resources”.

“If we have the proper resources and real-time alert monitors we can find the people [responsible] very quickly,” he said.

Mr Garae says it took his team 20 hours to respond and restore all the Government websites that had been blocked.

Mr Garae said he is worried that a similar cyber-attack could happen again.

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer’s Deputy Chief Information Officer, John Jack, says cyber-attacks on the Government’s online services are a serious matter.

He acknowledged the hard work of the National Computer Emergency Response Team to get all the websites blocked by the hackers up and working again.

“This cyber-attack is an international attack but we cannot confirm which country the attack came from,” Mr Jack said.

“We need to find out if any Government information was taken during the attack; and I have to say, this is a challenge for Vanuatu because we do not have the resources to look at such issues.”

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