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Death in paradise: 'Cyber attack' takes out national government's IT

Half of a tiny Caribbean island, population 42,000, but still

Eeek! A nation’s entire government is staggering to its feet after being shut down for a week due to a "cyber attack".

The nation in question is Sint Maarten, an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is otherwise known as the southern "Dutch bit" of the Caribbean island Saint Martin and has an area of a mere 34km2. (The northern "French bit", the république of Saint-Martin, measures 53 km2.) Sint Maarten has a population of just over 42,000 and tourism dominates its economy.

Local organ The Daily Herald reported the "attack" struck on 2 April, but yesterday said public services were to "resume" shortly.

News has since dribbled out on Facebook, as follows.

The nature of the "attack" has not been disclosed. We’ve emailed the government to ask for details but seeing it has been down for a few days don’t expect swift response.

There’s no shame in governments going down these days: Atlanta was recently crippled for more than a week, while a cut to the African Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable last week took the nation of Mauritania offline for two days and saw Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and the Gambia struggle to land or send internet traffic. ®

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