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Czech officials in Prague 'hit by massive cyber attack'

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By Euronews
A woman wearing a face mask walks across the medieval Charles Bridge in Prague.
A woman wearing a face mask walks across the medieval Charles Bridge in Prague.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Petr David Josek

Czech officials in Prague have been hit by a large-scale cyberattack, according to the city's mayor.

"There has been a massive cyber attack on public administration systems," Zdeněk Hřib tweeted, adding that the servers had "survived" and there was little damage. An immediate outage was made on the email system to maintain security.

"Thanks to the storage of multiple copies of data at once, we did not damage the data," Hřib said.

On Friday morning, he confirmed that the city’s emails were working and that there was no need to recover data from backup systems.

"It seems that we also managed to warn the city districts in time," Hřib added.

The attack has been reported to the Czech Republic National Cyber and Information Agency (NUKIB), and Hřib said the city would provide "full cooperation" with the investigation.

The Czech Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Jana Maláčová, told the Czech media that the ministry had also been targeted, without giving further details.

A spokesperson for the Ministry told Euronews that they are still evaluating the incident, but do not believe that any data was leaked or system damaged.

In a statement, the NUKIB confirmed that they were working with the organisations that had been affected. There is no indication yet who carried out the cyber attacks.

"NUKIB, together with other partners, including the National Center against Organised Crime, is currently helping the affected organisations to address this situation and minimize the extent of damage," the agency said.

"However, we will not provide more detailed information on the extent of the incident or the affected entities."

The agency said they had previously identified "serious vulnerabilities" affecting Microsoft Exchange Server, which could allow email accounts to be accessed remotely.

Microsoft has warned that these vulnerabilities are currently being actively exploited, the NUKIB said.

"We recommend that anyone who runs an Exchange server in these versions update immediately, especially if the server is accessible from the Internet."

In the last year, several cyber attacks have hit state organisations in the Czech Republic, including Prague airport or hospitals.