Russians among ‘hundreds’ trying to hack Dutch government

Russian hackers accused of trying to meddle
in the recent US elections have tried to
infiltrate Dutch ministries among hundreds of
cyber attacks ahead of next month’s polls
here, reports said Saturday.

Two Russian groups were behind phishing
attempts to pinch the credentials of
government workers, including at the prime
minister’s office, the respected Volkskrant
daily said.

Citing security experts, Volkskrant said the
two groups were APT29 and APT28, which
have links to the Russian government and
were named by the FBI and US Homeland
Security as being behind “malicious cyber
activity” against US government bodies.

The hacking bid on the prime minister’s
office appeared to have been unsuccessful,
the daily added.

Concerns over the security of Dutch
computers and websites have been growing
since the outcry erupted over US intelligence
reports that Russia had interfered to help
secure the election of US President Donald

Dutch authorities announced on Wednesday
that they were scrapping a decade-old
computer system for the March 15 general
elections and would count millions of votes
by hand after a report revealed
“vulnerabilities” in the system.

“In the last six months we have seen
hundreds of attempts to hack into emails and
company data. It’s a real challenge to stay
ahead of the game,” the head of the Dutch
secret service (AIVD) Rob Bertholee said in a
television interview Friday.

Apart from Russia, China and Iran had also
been behind some of the cyber attacks, he

“I think it is a threat to our democracy,”
Bertholee said, speaking on the Eeen Vandag
programme on public broadcaster NOS.

“The danger is twofold: they can interfere
with the workings of our parliament and
influence the government’s decision-making
process. Second: is that they can steal
business and economic secrets and
undermine the earning power of the Dutch
business community.” 

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