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Stolen NATO documents surface on dark web

Classified NATO documents have been stolen from the Armed Forces General Staff (EMGFA) agency of Portugal after it suffered from cyber attack.

user iconReporter
Fri, 09 Sep 2022
Stolen NATO documents surface on dark web
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The American cyber intelligence agents warned the Portuguese government about the data breach after noticing the sale of stolen documents, alerted the US embassy in Lisbon.

EMGFA, who is responsible for the control, planning, and operations of the armed forces of Portugal, however, only realised they suffered a cyber attack after hackers posted samples of the stolen material on the dark web with a price tag for interested buyers.

Experts from the National Security Office (GNS) and Portugal’s national cyber security centre was dispatched to EMGFA to carry out a complete screening of the body’s entire network.

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Local news organisation Diario de Noticias broke the cyber attack news, claiming it has confirmed the validity of the information via unnamed sources, close to the ongoing investigations.

The leaked documents are of "extreme gravity", according to DN's sources. A crisis with the country’s credibility in the military alliance could occur due to the circulation of the documents.

"It was a cyber attack prolonged in time and undetectable, through bots programmed to detect this type of documents, which were later removed in several stages," one of DN’s sources said.

EMGFA uses air-gapped computers, but the exfiltration used standard non-secure lines. One of the initial conclusions of the investigation is that the top military body has broken its operational security rules at some point in time.

According to BleepingComputer, DN’s revelations has increased pressure for a briefing by the political opposition, which has been rising in the absence of an official statement from the Portuguese state on the topic.

The news about classified military documents being sold on the internet and the country’s intelligence services failing to detect such a highly critical breach has surprised many members of the parliament.

Marcos Perestrello, the chairman of the parliamentary defense committee, has been called upon to intercede so that hearings regarding the incident would be scheduled as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister’s office, the Portugal Ministry of National Defence, and EMGFA did not respond to requests for comment.

[Related: Hackers hit Queensland government agencies with phishing emails]

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