Portugal’s Ministry of Education confirms cyberattack

Written By Lara Silva

The Ministry of Education confirmed on Wednesday to CNN Portugal that a cyberattack occurred where the National Examinations Jury platform was targeted by a Portuguese hacker. However, the ministry has said that all personal data related to national exams are safe and that the information hacked was already public information. Multiple public infrastructures were hacked and the police warned the government.

The Portuguese hacker responsible for the cyberattack is known as Zambrius who accessed multiple pages of critical infrastructures such as Health, Education, and Defence. The hacker had alleged accessing over 100 systems of the Ministry of Education and sent documentation and photographs to CNN Portugal with evidence.

Nuno Mateus Coelho, a specialist in cybersecurity and professor at Lusofona University told CNN that “all the photos published by the hacker show that it is possible to hack into essential infrastructures of the state which is incredibly dangerous”.

The 21-year-old hacker accessed a platform that manages the financial resources of the national health service (SNS), the Garcia de Orta Hospital, a transport service, the National Examinations Jury platform, and other infrastructures. At 16 years old, Zambrius had already hacked some of the largest companies and infrastructures in Portugal and Brazil.

There have been multiple cyberattacks in the last few months in Portugal, particularly against essential services. For example, there were cyberattacks against the telecommunication service Vodafone which suspended essential services.

The government already announced in early May that measures to fight cyberattacks against the state are already underway. However, it is unclear what these are.

In February 2022, in a report on the countries most affected by cyberattacks conducted by S21sec, Portugal ranked 31st place, in a total of 101 countries. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada were the top 3 countries on the list.

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