Monday, March 7, 2011

Hackers Target French Government Computers for G20 secrets

IT staff spent the weekend in a massive cleaning to remove traces of "spectacular" attack on computer at Bercy, headoffice of the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry Ministry, a government minister said Monday.
 "There was an attack on information systems at Bercy," Budget Minister Francois Baroin said in an interview to a radio station Europe 1 "It' s probably the first time was as big as this."

Ministry staff had suspected for some time that something was wrong, but it was not until recently that the General Secretariat of Defense and Homeland Security has confirmed the suspicions, Baroin said. That an organization may disclose more details later this week, "he said.

"The attack was blocked this weekend, and a huge maintenance program was carried out Bercy to clean up all the systems," he said.

The attackers broke into the mailbox and server during several weeks. There is no indication that the files of personal tax on their target,"he said.

The attack was probably out of France, according Baroin: "We have some clues, but at this point it is impossible to confirm," he said.

"The important thing now is to identify the source of the attack, to know how it happened and develop defenses to prevent a future attack," he said.

The G20 meetings brings together the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries and the European Union. In addition to the E.U., the G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.

The latest incident, Baroin said, shows that companies are not the only targets of economic espionage: It can also happen to states.

"This is just one more incident, a confirmation that we, too, need to protect our IT systems," he said.