Serbia to take business registrations online despite cyberattack

Serbia to take business registrations online despite cyberattack
By bne IntelliNews March 29, 2023

The Ministry of Economy announced on March 28 that applications to the Agency for Business Registers (APR) to set up a company must be submitted online. 

It made the announcement the day after the website and server of the APR were the target of distributed DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. 

The ministry’s move follows amendments to the law on company registrations adopted in 2021, under which the APR is obliged to accept applications exclusively in electronic form. This is in line with the e-government concept and efforts to digitise the economy.

This means that it will no longer be possible to submit an application to set up a company in paper form to the Agency for Business Registers.

“In this way, conditions are created for reducing costs and time for establishing a company, improves and expands the level of services for citizens, reduces the time of processing requests by the Agency for Business Registers, which all contributes to greater efficiency,” a government statement said. 

However, the government also reported DDoS attacks were aimed at overloading the APR’s web server, in order to prevent users from accessing the agency's e-services. Data was not the target of these attacks, so the databases managed by APR were not compromised, the agency stated.

The perpetrators of the attacks, which came from many countries around the world, flooded the agency's website, which caused occasional weak functionality of the website, emails and web services.

On March 27 the agency managed to defend the system from attacks and provide access to all its web services, with occasional interruptions, and by March 28 the system was working smoothly.

Elsewhere in the Western Balkans, Albania moved almost all of its government services online in 2022, but its e-government system was hit by a massive cyberattack in July. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced in September that Iran was behind the attack, and gave Iranian diplomats 24 hours to leave the country.