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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags european commissionsecurityAccess control and authenticationdata breachinternetgovernment

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?