Land Registry paralysed by hack attack

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The state Land Registry was forced close on Friday following an unprecedented hacker attack on its webpage and systems, with officials hoping to have the system back online next week.

According to the head of the Land Registry, Elikos Elia, it could not cater to the public following what appears to be a cyberattack.

People will be given new appointments to conduct their business with the department.

Although still unclear what brought the Registry’s systems down, indications are that this resulted from a cyberattack that started on Wednesday evening.

According to some reports, hackers have requested money, but Elia told CyBC radio that no demand had been made.

The government’s IT and digital security departments are trying to resolve the breach due to the sensitive data the website carries.

Elia said that the extent of the damage caused to the system and digital archives is being assessed.

“We believe, and certainly hope, that no data has been corrupted,” said Elia when asked if any title deeds could have been lost.

“The Land Registry’s archive is made up of data collected over the past 150 years, which took years of work to be digitalised.”

The attack comes after the University of Cyprus was hacked earlier this month.

Hackers had attacked the university with ransomware.

In comments to Politis Radio, the UCy Dean, Tasos Christofides, said that attacks on the university are systematic and do not concern only Cyprus, but also Israel since universities and hospitals in the neighbouring country face similar problems.

Three months earlier, hackers targeted the e-mails of members of the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK).

After gaining access to the accounts, the hackers managed to trick the officials by giving instructions for the payment of a ‘significant amount’, pretending to be a European Union agency.