“We have observed potential signs of compromised systems connected to our unclassified network in our Moscow Delegation. Measures have been taken and the investigation is in progress — at this stage we cannot comment further,” the spokesperson told POLITICO.
EU countries “were informed via established channels. The European External Action Services hierarchy [including the EUs top diplomats] was also informed,” the spokesperson said.
The news website BuzzFeed reported that it had seen a leaked document saying the initial attack took place in February 2017 but was only detected in April this year. The document said that cybersecurity officials had found activity affecting at least two computers in the Moscow mission and that they had concluded that information had been stolen.
The cybersecurity analysis also established that the hack had been an “advanced persistent threat,” BuzzFeed wrote, referring to sophisticated hacker groups traditionally linked to state intelligence services.
BuzzFeed also cited an unnamed source as saying that Russian entities were believed to be behind the hack.
European Commissioner for Digital Affairs Mariya Gabriel is scheduled to visit St. Petersburg this Saturday to attend the International Economic Forum, a conference hosted by the Russian government and traditionally attended by President Vladimir Putin.
EU diplomatic IT networks have suffered cyberattacks and attempts at intrusions in the past.