Crash of commercial register of Bulgaria blocks business deals

Photo: BGNES

The commercial register and the register of non-profit legal persons is now accessible to users, though only to reference their current status.
“The nature of the technological processes means the register should be fully operational and with a complete data set of entries next week at the earliest,” reads a press release by the Bulgarian Registry Agency, and goes on that the problem was not caused by outside tampering, or by a cyber incident, and that there is no risk of any misuse of the data available.

As the Registry Agency’s information system crashed on Friday, the registration of new companies was blocked, no changes in management or ownership could be entered, even simple searches were made impossible.

Gradual restoration is being started, as of today, of the normal functioning of Bulgaria’s commercial register. “The current status has been restored, i.e., trade can be resumed, but the data, the dossiers, the documents are all missing. The fact there was no data up to this point means trade was blocked completely,” Greta Ganeva, attorney at law, said for the Bulgarian National Radio. And added that in the days when the register was down, there existed a very grace risk to the transactions concluded, as they were “a leap of faith”, pure and simple. Greta Ganeva expressed concerns regarding the database of legal persons in the country, adding that the institutions must act in crisis mode: “The helplessness institutions have so far demonstrated somehow fuels the suspicion that there is no guarantees for the data of legal persons in Bulgaria. This is a question connected with control of these data, and the processes connected with them, including process management.”

The access now provided to the current state means transparency of commerce, says IT expert Bozhidar Bozhanov. Taking a look at possible loss of data, he indicated that, in IT maintenance, it is indispensable to have a current copy of the data valid for the previous day.

“Why were there no backup copies, or why can’t these backup copies be restored, is a question that the Registry Agency and the company maintaining the register have to answer,” the expert says. “There are many companies, banks etc., that receive copies of the commercial register every day. This means the data are not irretrievably lost. The question is to restore them, and for everyone to be certain they really are current.”

Bozhidar Bozhanov says “the political aspect of the crisis is pretty important”:
“The commercial register, along with the population register, is the most important register in the country. With the commercial register, material interest is very high. And that makes it a pretty tasty morsel,” the IT expert says, and adds that declassifying the contracts for the maintenance of the register would be a good practice.

Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva referred the matter to the State Agency for National Security and the Ministry of the Interior for investigation into the causes of the crash of the commercial register. Meanwhile the State e-Government Agency is auditing the software and the hardware of all state e-systems. At the beginning of today’s cabinet sitting, Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev commented that every electronic register should have double and triple backup, which was obviously insufficient, seeing as it was possible for a crash such as this to occur. At this point efforts continue round the clock to restore the information: “We are talking about 25 terabytes of information here, enormous data sets. Within a few days we should have all functionalities of the register made accessible to users,” Donchev said. A single state e-repository is to be created, where each register will make a copy of its information. “We shall arrange for such a repository, so as to prevent any such crises in future. What happened goes to show how fragile and vulnerable the whole system is, when a technical crisis so easily develops into an economic, trade, you-name-it crisis,” Tomislav Donchev commented.

Horizont channel

English version: Milena Daynova


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