Austrian Foreign Department Down After APT28 Attack With Deadly Malware


APT28: The Austrian State Department has been under a serious attack. The attack is suspected to be carried out by a state sponsored group according to the statements made by the Foreign Ministry (BMEIA) and the Ministry of Interior (BMI). All the necessary steps have been taken by the Austrian Administration on the basis of Network and Information System Security Act. The entire federal agencies also have jumped into action. The attack was quickly identified by the concerned department and no time was wasted on to figure out what should be done. Immediate and swift action was taken by the Austrian State Department. The attack was disclosed by the Austrian Foreign Ministry Peter Guschelbauer. The Foreign Minister was giving making the disclosure on national public broadcaster ORF (Osterreichischer Rundfubnk). He told that the attack will be active on Sunday.

The recent hacking attack on the Austrian Foreign Ministry clearly demonstrates the importance and significance of cyber defense and how little the Austrian government is paying attention when it comes to allocating money and resources to the important field. Laimer the spokesman of the Social Democratic Party of Austria added that Austrain defense force should be allocate separate funds for cyber security training courses. This will enable the country critical system and infrastructure to remain safe and secure in the light of future attacks being carried out by threat actors and hackers. The fact that Greens sees no such priority for the development of the defense sector when it comes to developing and taking that skill to the next level at the congress meet, only suggest that there is a concern for the future of the country.

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According to the statements made jointly by the BMEIA and the BMI, it cannot be ruled out that the attack is carried out by the state actors. This is not the first time a country is attacked by such state sponsored attacks. Only last month Germany was attacked the Russian hacking group called the APT28. The group infiltrated the systems of German Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, Chancellory, and the Federal Court of Auditors according to the report being published in March 2018.

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior confirmed the hacked and said that the attack was initially detected in December 2017. The spokesman also said that the team was in full swing to identify; about which are the systems that are being hacked and trying to identify each of them.  Additionally, based on the evidence already gathered up to that point, the Russian group named APT28 had access to the German government network for almost an entire year. APT28 is a Russian cyber espionage unit also tracked as STRONTIUM, Sofacy, and Fancy Bear, an APT group active since at least January 2007 and previously connected to cyber espionage targeting governments and security organizations all over the world.

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This was the same group that was involved in the involvement in the US presidential election in the year 2016. The group also was behind the campaigns such as the Democratic National Committee hack ahead of 2016, presidential elections and attacks on the foreign embassy of USA and Romania. There have been previous cases where this group’s involvement has been seen. The groups also carried out a six month long cyber attack on the German parliament that started in 2014. The group also attacked the NATO and the White House official websites in the year 2015 and 2016 respectively. The group also tried to get passed the computer system of the Dutch ministry but failed to get passed it due to the due diligence and smart installations the Dutch had in place.

Source: Bleeping Computers

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