Free parking in Antwerp due to cyber attack: Damage amounts to tens of millions

Free parking in Antwerp due to cyber attack: Damage amounts to tens of millions


A cyber attack in December left many of the city of Antwerp’s computer systems down. As a result, parking attendants were unable to check whether anyone had purchased a parking ticket for weeks. Although that is by no means the only cost the city has incurred from the cyber perils.

Since the cyber attack by hacker collective Play, undeclared parkers in Antwerp have been escaping fines and parking fees. The city of Antwerp thus estimates missing 1.2 million euros in parking ticket revenue. The problems should be solved soon, however, because by the end of this week it should be possible to check parking tickets again.

Although there are still other issues that cannot be verified. For example, checking cars in the low-emission zone (LEZ) via the ANPR cameras has not been possible since Dec. 6, so fines could not be issued here either. In addition, it was not possible to purchase a permit for one or more days to gain access with a car.

70 million euros

The fight against the cyber attack is already threatening to become a pricey issue. The bill is mounting because of the overtime that the staff of the city’s Digipolis computer center worked. But the city’s other officials were also often knocking overtime in recent weeks. And then there are the costs of using external specialists, such as for the response team. Moreover, part of the IT system, and related policies, need to be adjusted and updated.

According to Koen Kennis (N-VA), alderman for finance and mobility, the damage would amount to about 70 million euros, he told newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. “More than the corona crisis and the reception of Ukrainian refugees”, he suggested.

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