Friday

24th Nov 2017

Unknown hackers stealing EU files for past five years

  • Kaspersky's map of target countries (highlighted in red) (Photo: kaspersky.com)

Russian Internet security firm Kaspersky Lab says unknown hackers have been stealing EU and Nato-encrypted files.

The operation - dubbed "Red October" - claimed victims in embassies, government and military institutions in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It also hit Australia, Iran, Israel, Russia and the US, among others.

But Belgium, the home of the EU and Nato headquarters, saw 15 separate breaches - the fourth highest number of any country on the list.

Over the past five years, the hackers pulled material, such as files, as well as keystroke history and Internet browsing history, from desktop and laptop computers, servers and USB sticks.

They also stole contact lists, call history and SMS-es from iPhone, Nokia and Windows Mobile smartphones.

In some cases, they hunted for files with extensions "acidcsa, acidsca, aciddsk, acidpvr, acidppr, acidssa," which "appear to refer to the classified software 'Acid Cryptofiler,' which is used by several entities such as the European Union and/or Nato," Kaspersky Lab said in its report.

They even accessed files which had been deleted by users and used malware which quietly resurrects itself after it has been discovered.

The hackers hid behind "proxy" servers in Austria, Germany and Russia.

But Kaspersky Lab's analysis of the malicious code shows traces of Chinese and Russian-speaking authors.

"Currently, there is no evidence linking this with a nation-state-sponsored attack. The information stolen by the attackers is obviously of the highest level and includes geopolitical data which can be used by nation states. Such information could be traded in the underground and sold to the highest bidder, which can be of course, anywhere," it noted.

It added that it began its investigation in October last year following a tip-off from an anonymous "partner."

In an unusual constellation in diplomatic terms, the firm thanked cyber security officials from Belarus, Romania and the US for helping it to nail down details.

Hackers stole Van Rompuy's emails

Hackers last summer raided the emails of EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy and 10 other senior EU officials.

EU firms among targets in epic-scale hack

An unnamed state actor, believed by some experts to be China, has plundered data from three EU companies, on top of 69 other victims worldwide.

Amsterdam wins EU medicines agency on coin toss

The staff of the London-based EMA will move to the Dutch city of Amsterdam after Brexit, following a coin toss. Chance also decided the new home of the European Banking Authority: Paris.

Commission warns Italy over high debt level

The Italian government must demonstrate it is making an effort, or the EU will consider launching a procedure. France and Romania are also under scrutiny.

Amsterdam wins EU medicines agency on coin toss

The staff of the London-based EMA will move to the Dutch city of Amsterdam after Brexit, following a coin toss. Chance also decided the new home of the European Banking Authority: Paris.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition