Nikhef experts take part in anti DDoS exercise at the Belastingdienst

13 February 2023

Computer experts from Nikhef recently participated in an exercise to test the digital security of the Tax Administration (Belastingdienst). This involved so-called DDoS attacks, which could paralyze the service.

Nikhef is part of the National Anti-DDoS Coalition, a special collaboration between governments, ISPs and exchanges, academic institutions, banks and non-profit organizations that has been in place since 2018.

The institute for particle research has large computing capacity and much expertise in the field of data networks, and makes the selflessly available as a form of social service.

A DDOS attack is an attempt to take down a digital infrastructure by sending as much data traffic to it as possible. Servers cannot handle that massive data and become temporarily out of service.

For a vital service like the Tax Office or login service DigiD, that kind of hack is a significant danger. In the recent advanced exercise, most systems held up well.

To test the defense against such attacks, the Tax and Customs Administration occasionally organizes its own attacks, in cooperation with the anti-DDoS coalition. This includes the use of the latest advanced attack techniques.

A reporter from was present at the recent exercise, which published a report about it this weekend (in Dutch).