Prague – The Czech foreign minister said Tuesday his office had fallen prey to hackers who worked their way into the email accounts of dozens of employees including himself.
“Since early January we have known one of the attacks was partly successful as the hackers managed to penetrate the email system of the ministry,” Lubomir Zaoralek told reporters.
He added however that no classified information was compromised as hackers failed to get into the ministry’s inner system.
“The data leak was considerable. The attack was very sophisticated,” Zaoralek said.
“It must have been carried out from the outside, by another country. The way it was done bears a very strong resemblance to the attacks on the US Democratic Party’s internet system,” said the foreign minister, citing experts.
In early January, US intelligence said Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered a campaign of hacking and media manipulation aimed at undermining Clinton’s presidential campaign and boosting Donald Trump.
Last October, Czech police arrested a Russian hacker in Prague in cooperation with the FBI and accused him of staging cyber attacks on the United States.
The hacker is in custody in the Czech Republic pending extradition to the United States or Russia as both countries have asked Prague to hand over the suspect.
In neighboring Poland, the Rzeczpospolita daily reported Monday that a group of Russian hackers called APT28 had tried to attack local foreign ministry servers in December through emails pretending to be sent by the NATO secretary general.
This group, also known as Pawn Storm, Sofacy and Fancy Bears, is believed to be behind other high-profile cyber attacks and to be linked to Russia’s security services.