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BESSY II back in operation after cyber attack on Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB)

Since Monday 3 July 2023 BESSY II light source produces brilliant light for research again. It was shut down as a precaution after a hacker attack on the IT systems at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) mid-June. The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesasntalt (PTB, national metrology center) which operates its own experimental stations at BESSY II, can now use it again for its measurements. The beamlines and experimental stations of PTB are controlled independently of the HZB grid in a self-sufficient network. The PTB Metrology Lightsource, which is operated by the HZB, was not paused at any time and is running trouble-free. The user service at the other experimental stations at BESSY II is further interrupted.

As reported, HZB became the target of a cyber attack in the night of 14-15 June. All IT systems were shut down for protection. Since then, the responsible authorities have been conducting investigations, which are still ongoing.

The aim of the attack was to encrypt files and servers. For reasons of investigative tactics, no information can currently be given on the extent of the damage caused.

The neutron source BER II in Wannsee is not affected, its systems are controlled independently and isolated from the main HZB network. The eye tumour therapy carried out jointly with the Charité using a proton accelerator also runs without interference in a self-sufficient network. Patient data is stored at the Charité

In addition to forensic investigations to preserve evidence, the current focus is on restoring data and setting up emergency systems. Administrative processes are gradually being restarted, which will secure salary payments, among other things. Solutions are being developed for research in the laboratories. Some of the laboratory infrastructures, for example for the development of solar cells, are already in full operation, others in limited operation.

Background information about HZB

With its energy and materials research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin contributes to developing solutions for a climate-neutral society. One focus of the research is efficient and inexpensive materials for solar cells, batteries and catalysts.

The most important tool is BESSY II light source, which provides intense light in the soft X-ray range. The light spectrum is suitable for investigating the functioning of energy materials in operando.

BESSY II welcomes around 2700 visits from guest researchers from 28 countries per year.

Dr. Ina Helms
0173 3880170

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