Serious Cyberattack at the EC

Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 03:03 PM gHale

The European Commission suffered a serious cyberattack.

First detected earlier in the week, officials said the attack was sustained and targeted.

Officials suspended external access to the Commission’s email and intranet and staff should change their passwords in order to prevent the “disclosure of unauthorized information,” according to an internal memo. Staff at the Commission, the European Union’s executive and regulatory body, should send sensitive information via secure email, officials said.

The event came just days ahead of the European Council summit on Thursday and Friday. The summit brings together the leaders of E.U. member states and they will make crucial decisions on economic strategy, the war in Libya and the future structure of the E.U.

The attack could be similar to the cyberattack on the French government in the run up to the G20 Summit in February 2010. That assault involved malware and targeted email, with some of the related stolen information redirected to China.

Commission administration spokesman Antony Gravili confirmed the attackers targeted the information of some Commission officials, in particular at the External Action Service, the body’s foreign diplomatic arm.

“We are already taking urgent measures to tackle this. An inquiry’s been launched. This isn’t unusual as the Commission is frequently targeted,” said Gravili. He added there was no link between the attack and the E.U. summit.

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