Hacking attack on website as Bulgaria’s 2021 census gets underway

A hacking attack disrupted the website of Bulgaria’s 2021 census as the online phase of the process began on September 7, the National Statistical Institute said.

“We expect such attacks and we have taken action. This attack is a good test of the security system we have built. Most likely, such attacks are not even malicious, but an opportunity for someone to show off their ability to fight such systems,” the National Statistical Institute said.

From September 7 until midnight on September 17, residents of Bulgaria may participate in the census by filling in an online form.

The second stage is from September 18 to October 3, when enumerators will visit households, between 8am and 8pm.

A warning has been issued that enumerators will not visit homes between September 7 and 17, and anyone claiming to be one during this time is likely a fraudster.

Failure to participate in the census means a fine of 160 leva (about 80 euro).

The deputy head of the National Statistical Institute, Diana Yancheva, said that everyone in Bulgaria who usually resides in the country must participate in the census. “We do not care whether they are Bulgarian or foreign citizens, they will have to be counted,” she said.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Atanas Pekanov called on the public to participate in the census online, as this was easier and safer given the Covid-19 pandemic.

Enumerators are obliged to visit every household, even those who have participated online. However, such visits may be avoided by posting on your door the unique 15-digit code that the system will generate when the electronic form is filled in correctly.

You should have your Bulgarian identity documents to hand when you prepare to participate online. To register, you must have a valid e-mail address, and provide your personal identity number, and the number and date of issue of your identity document.

You will receive a verification link at the e-mail address, which – as often happens in such cases – can go directly to the spam folder, so if you do…