Cyber Attack against Hungarian Government Organization
Péter Cseresnyés 2019.09.12.
The Hungarian Development Center (MFK) is forced to reorganize its administration from scratch after a hacker attack destroyed its entire digital database in mid-July, news site 24.hu reports. Allegedly, the attack most likely came from North Korea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs later confirmed the cyber attack but denied any data loss, stating the MFK has immediately shut down its systems following the detection of the hacking attempt.
The attack against the government agency was aimed at the server that stores all of its official documentation, contracts, invoices, corporate software, and essentially all of its digital data related to its activities, according to information gathered by weekly 168 Óra.
The exact date of the attack could not be determined, as neither the Hungarian Development Center nor its supervisory authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, replied to the newspaper’s questions.
The MFK has been operating since 2014 and is responsible for monitoring EU open tenders for funds from the European Structural and Investment Funds, and for informing the public administration, municipalities, corporate, and civil sectors about the available resources and the terms and conditions of the tenders. In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MFK cooperates with the Ministry of National Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, several government agencies, as well as NGOs, sports, and other organizations. The Center also operates the Tenders in Hungarian (Pályázatok Magyarul) website, making it very likely that the documents for tenders worth billions of forints have been destroyed.
Lacking confirmation by any of the ministries or other official responses, the information was confirmed to 168 óra by Debreczeny Dénes Technical Director of the Hungarian Rugby Association. The association is impacted in more than one way, as Antal Kiss, the director of the MFK, is also chairman of the association.
The Rugby Association also stored its data on the affected servers. However, luckily enough copies of most of the official documents and accounts are also stored at the Ministry of Human Resources, which is responsible for sports, so it was asked for help in the recovery and replacement of the lost documents.
As the hacker attack involved a government organization, the Constitutional Protection Office(AH) had to investigate what happened. Dénes Debreczeny learned indirectly that the hack originated in North Korea.
In their response to 24.hu the Foreign Ministry confirms that the Hungarian Development Center has indeed recently been affected by a cyber attack, however “due to the immediate and professional intervention, the center’s data has not been lost.” The mail system of MFK found that the government server was not damaged, the ministry adds.