Pro-Russia hackers targeted Dutch MH17 investigators

Hackers or Keyboard users
(photo:José Goulão/Flickr). ((photo:José Goulão/Flickr))

Hackers targeted the Dutch Safety board around the time that the report on the MH17 disaster was presented. Security company Trend Micro reports that pro-Russian hacker group Pawn Storm is behind the attacks. 

A spokesperson for the Safety Board confirmed the attacks to NU on Friday, adding that they were detected in time and none of them were successful. The spokesperson would say nothing further about the nature of the attacks or how they were detected.

According to Trend Micro, the hackers launched a coordinated attack from several sides in an attempt to gain access to sensitive information on the MH17 from, among others, the Dutch, Malaysian and Ukrainian authorities.

Attacks were launched on the Dutch Safety Board on September 28th, September 29th and October 14th. The MH17 report was presented on October 13th. The hackers set up fake servers mimicking different Dutch Safety Board servers. Trend Micro believes that these servers were used to execute phishing attacks in an effort to get hold of Safety Board staff members' credentials, which could then be used to gain access to the actual servers.

So far Pawn Storm has targeted government, military and media entities in Europe, the United States and its allies, the Ukraine, Asia and the middle east. Other targets include NATO and the organization's member states, Ukrainian activists and Russian dissidents and political opponents of the Kremlin.

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