A MALLORCA council computer network has been hacked since Saturday with the attackers demanding a €10 million ransom to get it back on line.
The mayor of Calvia, whose area includes the party resort of Magaluf, made it clear that his council will not be paying up.
“We cannot and do not want to pay blackmail sums to criminals,” Juan Antonio Amengual said bluntly.
The ‘Lockbit’ cybercriminal group is said to be behind the attack having previously hacked other municipalities in Spain including Sevilla as well as an internal network belonging to the Chilean Judiciary.
The software planted by ‘Lockbit’ took 40 days to be eliminated from Sevilla council’s computers with the group demanding €5 million.
Spain’s National Cryptologic Centre said that it is ‘one of the most sophisticated groups’ involved in hacking’.
It branded it as ‘one of the most professional cybercrime organisations as it actively recruits talented intermediaries and developers through computer programme writing competitions’.
The Calvia hack was initiated on Saturday at 2.00am and since then, the council’s IT department and an external company along with computer experts from the government and the Consell de Mallorca have been working on trying to contain the Ransomware attack.
Online procedures and administrative deadlines for residents who would have used the council website have already been suspended until January 31 with people told to go in person to the municipal offices to conduct any business.
Juan Antonio Amengual said that he did not know the extent of the data hijacking.
“We have not been able to assess the scope of the attack nor do we know what kind of information they have retained,” he said, while stating that the goal was to ‘create a new and secure network’.
All passwords have been changed and council computers have been switched off, so as not to access the compromised network.
Council staff have had to work remotely or through laptops to ensure computer security.
“We don’t want to alarm the public, even though we have no idea what information is compromised,” Amengual added.