The Czech foreign minister says hackers attacked his email and the accounts of dozens of departmental officials over a period of several months. That means the hack was much larger than originally acknowledged.
Czech officials believe that over the course of at least a year hackers from abroad stole 7,100 diplomatic documents and cracked 168 email accounts. On Thursday, two weeks after officials discovered the theft, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek declined to give specifics about the data stolen and whom he suspects of conducting the attack. He said hackers had worked on their mission for at least a year but had not managed to steal any sensitive information.
"That's a lie, and a I must emphatically reject it," Zaoralek told a press conference on Thursday. "As I have said, the ministry's internal system, which works with strategic information that is sensitive from the viewpoint of the security state, was not assaulted," he said. Zaoralek acknowledged that hackers might have stolen information personally sensitive to him.
The foreign minister called the cyberattack sophisticated and compared it to 2016's hacking of Democratic Party documents in the United States, an assault blamed on Russia, which US officials believe sought to throw the presidential election to Donald Trump. Russian officials have called media reports that the Kremlin was involved "a baseless fantasy."
The hackers appear to have stolen documents that originated from IP addresses in Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and within the Czech Republic. Those included documents related to negotiations, the EU military commission and ambassador appointments.
mkg/jm (EFE, dpa, AP)