Czech Republic blames a ‘foreign state’ for a ‘very sophisticated’ cyberattack against top governmental employees

Dozens of email account were targeted by a cyberattacked allegedly operated by a ‘foreign state’, according to the foreign ministry in the Czech Republic, cited by politico.eu. The minister’s own email was also targeted by hackers.

“The ministry detected the attack in early January 2017 and studied the hackers for several weeks”, journalists noted. “Their investigation showed hackers breached the external mailing system of the ministry but couldn’t obtain classified files. The internal mailing system, which contains more sensitive information, wasn’t breached according to the minister.”

Bloomberg says no classified information was contained in breached accounts, mentioning that he servers containing sensitive communications were physically separate from those that were breached.

The Czech Republic is holding general elections later this year. Several European countries, including Germany, France and the Netherlands, have warned of the risk of cyberattacks disrupting their elections this year, according to politico.eu.

In Central and Eastern Europe, authorities are also investigating whether the unexpected power outage in Ukraine’s capital could be the latest in a series of hacking attacks which have struck the country’s electric grid and financial infrastructure in the last year, as HotForSecurity previously noted. Although the reason for the outage is not yet confirmed, investigators have said that the leading theory is that the energy grid was struck by a hacking attack, perhaps similar to the one which managed to shut down the power grid in December 2015. In a Facebook post, Vsevolod Kovalchuk of Kyivenergo pointed the finger of blame for the outage on “external interference through data network” too.

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