IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Netherlands urges citizens to prepare survival kits in case hackers target critical infrastructure

The latest campaign from the national coordinator for security echoes the growing concern in the UK government over serious cyber attacks

Dutch citizens have been urged to prepare emergency disaster kits in case a cyber attack or natural disaster hits the country.

The campaign to prepare the kits is being pushed by the country's national coordinator for security and counterterrorism (NCTV) Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg. He told local media that citizens should be able to survive for two days without water, electricity, or gas in the event that critical infrastructure is compromised.

Dutch citizens were last encouraged to prepare disaster kits back in 2009 but Aalbersberg said the latest awareness campaign was driven partly due to the number of cyber attacks across the globe is increasing.

“The Netherlands is extra vulnerable,” said Aalbersberg to AD. Digital technology in the Netherlands is advanced and many systems rely on it, he said. There’s also a lack of an analogue option to fall back on as a backup. 

Aalbersberg also said that as the country has experienced technological development, its resistance to attacks hasn’t developed at the same rate. “The gap between threat and resistance is still too wide,” he said.

The coordinator also warned that startups are being targeted by China and Russia, since larger companies have better digital security. He gave an example of two Russian spies trying to take away Dutch tech, but went to startups instead of larger companies. Aalbersberg said this was because startups are “mainly busy with other things” like putting a product on the market, and view security as something that comes after this phase.

Society also needs to increase its shock resistance, according to the security chief, especially since disaster preparation hasn’t been seen in the Netherlands for a long time, but was common during the Cold War era.

The Netherlands appears to be getting citizens ready in case a cyber attack plunges the country into a blackout, clearly worried about the rise in ransomware and how other countries have been brought to their knees after being hit by these kinds of attacks.

The seriousness of cyber attacks is also taking up officials’ time in the UK, where members of the Cobra crisis management team are dedicating more time to ransomware incidents, according to a report from The Record.

The majority of its meetings are reportedly focused on ransomware attacks in the country, with some saying this demonstrates the government hasn't made substantial progress in neutralising the threat of ransomware.

Related Resource

Getting board-level buy-in for security strategy

Why cyber security needs to be a board-level issue

Intercity 'Getting board-level buy-in for security strategy' whitepaper coverFree Download

Cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and entire nations have been hugely impactful in recent years. In May 2021, for example, a ransomware attack shut down one of the main fuel pipelines in the US.

The company that owns the pipeline, Colonial Pipeline, is responsible for 45% of the fuel supplies on the east coast of the country. It was forced to suspend 5,500 miles of pipeline after it fell victim to the cyber attack, and eventually paid hackers $4.4 million to regain access to its systems, although around half was recovered by the FBI.

More recently, in May 2022, Costa Rica declared a state of emergency after being hit by a Conti ransomware attack. The attack hit the country’s treasury, which affected its digital services and forced it to operate manually. Conti demanded a $10 million ransom for the government regain access to its systems.

Featured Resources

What 2023 will mean for the industry

What do most IT decision makers really think will be the important trends and challenges in the coming year?

Free Download

2022 Magic quadrant for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM is evolving into a security platform with multiple features and deployment models

Free Download

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide unified endpoint management services

2022 vendor assessment

Free Download

Magic quadrant for application performance monitoring and observability

Enabling continuous updating of diverse & dynamic application environments

View Now

Recommended

“Botched government procurement” leads to £24 million Atos settlement
high-performance computing (HPC)

“Botched government procurement” leads to £24 million Atos settlement

10 Jan 2023
UK and Japan strike digital partnership to collaborate on IoT security, semiconductors
Policy & legislation

UK and Japan strike digital partnership to collaborate on IoT security, semiconductors

7 Dec 2022
DCMS to consider establishing national institution for UK semiconductor industry
Hardware

DCMS to consider establishing national institution for UK semiconductor industry

6 Dec 2022
Defra's legacy software problem 'threatens' UK gov cyber security until 2030
Business strategy

Defra's legacy software problem 'threatens' UK gov cyber security until 2030

6 Dec 2022

Most Popular

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria
data breaches

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria

26 Jan 2023
GTA V vulnerability exposes PC users to partial remote code execution attacks
vulnerability

GTA V vulnerability exposes PC users to partial remote code execution attacks

23 Jan 2023
European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it
Sponsored

European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it

17 Jan 2023