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Investigation Launched into Alleged Russian Cyber Attacks at the Foreign Ministry

Péter Cseresnyés 2022.04.14.

Hungary’s National Bureau of Investigation (NNI) has launched an investigation on suspicion of a “breach of information system or data”, following press reports that Russian hackers broke into the IT system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade years ago and were able to access the Ministry’s communications as an open book.

Chief Public Prosecutor Péter Polt informed Ágnes Vadai, MP of the Democratic Coalition, about the opening of the investigation after the opposition politician submitted written questions to the Chief Prosecutor.

The opposition politician turned to Polt after investigative outlet Direkt36 reported that Russian hacker groups have been keeping the Foreign Ministry under cyber attack for years.

Direkt36: Russian Intelligence Services Had Access to Classified Data of Hungarian Foreign Ministry for Years
Direkt36: Russian Intelligence Services Had Access to Classified Data of Hungarian Foreign Ministry for Years

By hacking the foreign ministry’s networks, Hungary’s diplomatic activity virtually became an open book for Moscow, Direkt36 notes.Continue reading

According to the investigative site, Russian hackers infiltrated the IT systems of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as early as 2012. By the second half of 2021, Direkt36 found, Russia had already completely compromised the ministry’s computer network and internal mail system, and had hacked into the encrypted network used to transmit “restricted” and “classified” state and diplomacy related information, which can otherwise only be used under strict security conditions.

The DK politician wanted to know how the chief prosecutor interprets the crime of “treason” under the Hungarian Criminal Code. She also asked whether Polt had filed an ex officio criminal complaint after the publication of the investigative article, for example on suspicion of treason, and if not, whether he would do so following the written question of Vadai.

In his reply, the Chief Prosecutor did not specify how he interpreted the legal concept of treason under Hungary’s criminal law, but indicated that he had assessed the questions as a criminal complaint and had forwarded it to the National Bureau of Investigation.

According to the NNI, an ex officio investigation was already ordered on the day the article was published “on suspicion of a breach of information system or data.”

In the featured photo: Hungary’s Chief Public Prosecutor Péter Polt. Photo by Lajos Soós/MTI 


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