European Commission hit by serious cyberattack

European Commission staff told to change their passwords and to use only secure e-mail

The European Commission, including the body's diplomatic arm, has been hit by what officials said Thursday was a serious cyberattack.

The attack was first detected on Tuesday and Commission sources have said that it was sustained and targeted.

External access to the Commission's e-mail and intranet has been suspended and staff have been told to change their passwords in order to prevent the "disclosure of unauthorised information," according to an internal memo to staff. Staff at the Commission, the European Union's executive and regulatory body, have also been told to send sensitive information via secure e-mail.

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

This led to early speculation that the source of the attacks may be Libya, but the Commission was quick to rule this out. The attack is thought to 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 e-mail, with some of the related stolen information redirected to China.

Commission administration spokesman Antony Gravili said officials would not speculate on the source of the attacks in such a sensitive security matter. He did, however, confirm that 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 that there was no concrete evidence that the attack is linked to the E.U. summit.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentinterneteuropean commissionAccess control and authentication

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?