Rome region website shut down in cyber attack from abroad

Lazio region website hit by most serious hacking incident ever in Italy says Zingaretti.

The website of the Lazio region, which includes the Italian capital, remains down on Tuesday morning after being hit by a cyber attack from abroad over the weekend.

Lazio president Nicola Zingaretti said the region is "defending our community from these attacks of a criminal or terrorist nature," describing the situation as "very serious."

Zingaretti assured that the region's financial data and its budget details "have not been not touched," reports Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper.

"Lazio is the victim of a criminal offensive" - Zingaretti told a press conference on Monday - "the most serious ever in our country."

The cyberattack has halted bookings for the region's covid vaccination campaign, however the roughly half a million appointments made up to 13 August will go ahead as scheduled, the regional health councillor Alessio D'Amato confirmed.

The hackers were also unable to access the 'Cup' booking system - which manages all appointments for diagnostic screening, tests and hospital visits in the region - and so far there is no evidence that the medical history of millions of Lazio residents has been compromised, reports La Stampa newspaper.

The hackers accessed the system with the password of an administrator, using ransonware, a type of malware, to encrypt the data which contains personal details of top Italian politicians, including Italy's president and prime minister, as well as agents of the secret services.

Zingaretti denied there has been any direct ransom demands, ruling out negotiations with those behind the hacking, and said the attacks were ongoing.

Italy's parliamentary security committee will meet with interior minister Luciana Lamorgese today, 3 August, to discuss the cyber attack. 

The Regione Lazio and Salute Lazio websites remain down at the time of writing. Photo ANSA.