China breaks into Dutch defence ministry computer network


The Chinese authorities managed to access a small defence ministry computer network last year and the Dutch have now published a detailed technical report as a “warning to others”, defence minister Kajsa Ollongren said on Tuesday. 

“I think we have to assume that this happens more widely, in both the Netherlands and other countries. So it is a real risk that we have to guard against,” the minister said. 

The malware used to break into the systems created a ‘backdoor”, through which information could be collected, the military security service MIVD said.

The MIVD said it is sharing extensive information about the malware online, so that companies and organisations can check whether they too are victims. If so, they are being advised to report to the National Cyber Security Centre. The only way to remove the malware is reinstall everything, the MIVD said. 

The malware was found at the defence ministry on a stand-alone computer network, which the MIVD says has no connection to the rest of the defence network.

The victim network had fewer than 50 users and was used in the research and development of unclassified projects and joint projects with two third-party research institutes. These organisations have been notified of the incident. the MIVD said.

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