Due to a cyber attack by hackers, the entire government of Vanuatu has been rendered offline for over 11 days now. Using this attack, the hackers have managed to take control of the servers used in the country to manage various government websites. Several federal departments such as parliament, police, and the prime minister's office have experienced the blocking of their official websites. The email system along with the intranet has also been affected, which has disrupted several databases in the country such as schools, hospitals, and other emergency services along with many government databases. As all the government offices and websites have been rendered offline, the people of Vanuatu are struggling to manage necessary tasks such as taxes, bills, licenses, and travel visas.
According to the reports, the attack on the government servers happened on November 4, on Friday. The first attack happened on the government email servers, which were notified by the residents. They observed that their emails were not getting sent and the other users were not receiving the emails. This observation sent the first signal that there was something wrong with the servers used in the government email service which ends with gov.vu. Following the email service, other government services also failed to operate as email survive is considered the backbone of any database. Despite this, the first news related to the event came from the Vanuatu Daily Post, which addressed the government's statement of a possible cyber attack.
This attack seems to come along with the massive cyber attack on Australia’s one of the biggest medical databases, Medibank. It was later revealed that the attackers involved in Medibank’s data breach were after a ransom of $10 million. In the case of the attack on the Vanuatu government’s servers, similar developments have been marked. Reports have said that the attackers had demanded a ransom from the Vanuatu government, which it declined to offer. There is still no news regarding how much ransom was asked by the hackers and who the hackers are.
Regarding the attack, there is still no explanation given by the Vanuatu government. The Vanuatu government has not yet stated how the attack happened or what kind of cyber security measures it had to protect its servers from cyber attacks. But according to the cyber experts, the Vanuatu government was using centralized servers, which are extremely prone to cyber attacks, rather than decentralized servers. The government still has not been able to recover the servers and has requested the Australian government to assist the country in reestablishing its networks. It is being said that after upgrading the servers and security measures, the country will still require at least a week to get essential services online.
Many are still wondering about the intentions to attack a country like Vanuatu, which is not that financially or technologically advanced. Many have said that the last month’s election, which had the whole country invested, left the country unattended for cyber attacks. The newly appointed government refused to pay the ransom. The representative of the Vanuatu government said that the officials are still trying to locate the attackers who seem to be from the Asian region.