Czech foreign ministry reports hacking attack

By bne IntelliNews January 31, 2017

The Czech foreign ministry announced on January 31 that it suspects a state actor was behind a hack of dozens of email accounts that lasted for several months.

Hackers downloaded data from mailboxes belonging to Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and his deputy, Neovlivní.cz reports, citing security sources.

The cyber-security of western states has become a headline issue in recent months following claims of Russian interference in the recent US election. Security services across Europe are now on high alert for any similar meddling. Czechs are due to go to the polls in October.

Zaoralek said he has been told that the attacks were likely conducted by a foreign state.

“The character of the attack was very sophisticated,” the minister said, according to newswires, citing cyber-warfare experts. “In their view, it must have been conducted by some foreign state - from abroad. They also said that the method of the attack very much resembled attacks against the internet system of the Democratic Party in the US.”

However, he added the claim that no confidential material from the ministry was compromised. "At the moment we are finding out the extent of the infestation,” said a foreign ministry spokesman. “But so far we have no information that classified information was compromised.”

However, Neovlivni.cz claims security sources disagree. "It's thousands of pieces of data that were gradually withdrawn from the accounts of the minister and deputy," the sources are quoted as saying. That data includes secret information, the portal writes, citing a “highly credible source familiar with the case”.

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