Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has denied claims that hackers who broke into email accounts at the Foreign Ministry over a period of several months had managed to gain access to classified information. At a press briefing in Prague on Thursday, Minister Zaorálek said that while the hackers had accessed information that could be sensitive for persons and institutions, such as from his own email account, they had not managed to break into any classified information accounts. The leak of these mails is unfortunate, but it is not a threat to national security, the minister stressed. The breach of security was announced on Tuesday and the media have since cited security sources as saying thousands of pieces of data – including classified information – had been gradually downloaded from the ministry’s email accounts.
Minister for Trade and Industry Jan Mládek says he hopes to visit the Tesla Motors electric car headquarters in the United States and possibly meet with founder Elon Musk to encourage him to site a plant in the Czech Republic. Mládek told the business daily Hospodářské Noviny that his trip to the US could take place in May and exploratory talks with Tesla were already underway. Czech chances of landing an electric car plant have reportedly been boosted by the possibility of exploiting large lithium deposits in the north of the country near the German border. Lithium is a key material for the batteries used in electric cars.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been the victim of a major security breach, with hackers infiltrating dozens of email accounts, including that of Minister Lubomír Zaorálek. Mr. Zaorálek says experts told him the “sophisticated” cyberattack was likely carried out by a state and resembled hacking of the Democrats in the US. Washington formally blamed Russia for that breach. To discuss the hacking of the Czech Foreign Ministry email, I spoke to Andor Šándor, a security expert who previously headed the country’s Military Intelligence.
Internet firms have appealed to the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, to halt plans for a new military intelligence bill which would give Military Intelligence more powers to police the internet. The government is seeking to bolster cyber security in the Czech Republic but critics worry the bill would give too much power to a single entity.
Czech veterinarians have confirmed the first outbreak of bird flu at a large commercial poultry farm. The farm in question is near Blatná in South Bohemia with the estimated 6500 ducks there set to be killed on Thursday. The breeder found 160 dead ducks on Tuesday and Wednesday with tests later proving the presence of the H5 virus. An investigation into how the flock, which should have been kept away from wild birds, was infected is now being carried out. It is the 11th case of bird flu in the Czech Republic in the last couple of weeks.
A comprehensive survey mapping the state of the Czech Internet economy has just been completed by the companies most closely involved. The results are a mixed bag, but the basic message is that while Czech companies are forging ahead they are often doing so without much government help or even in the face of government obstacles. And the state’s efforts to ease the life of citizens by rolling out e-government initiatives is also taken to task.
The Czech telecommunications regulator CTU has warned operators Vodafone and O2 to cut wholesale prices for mobile internet services charged to virtual operators or risk losing their license. The regulator said a condition of the auction at which they acquired the licenses was to set wholesale prices that would allow virtual operators to operate profitably. CTU has given Vodafone and O2 a month in which to comply before it starts proceedings to strip them of their licenses.
Companies in the Czech Republic are among the highest European users of the Internet to sell their goods and services, according to the industry association SPIR. Figures released Wednesday showed around 56 percent of companies relied on the Internet for sales and purchases in 2015. That’s the third highest figure out of the 28 EU countries and trailing just Denmark and Austria. The association though slammed government efforts to boost Internet interaction between the state and citizens.
The Czech Veterinary authorities have confirmed the first case of bird flu in Prague. The deadly H5N8 virus was confirmed in a dead swan found on the banks of the Vltava River in Prague 7. No special measures will be taken for the time being in the Czech capital. The bird flu has been confirmed in six other locations in the Czech Republic. Thirteen thousand birds have been slaughtered since the first case was confirmed just over a week ago to try and prevent the spread of the disease.
Veterinarians are investigating what may be a third case of bird flu in the Czech Republic, after a poultry breeder near Ivančice in South Moravia discovered two dead specimens at his farm, spokesman of the State Veterinary Service Petr Pejchal told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. Minister of Agriculture on Wednesday confirmed the outbreak of Avian Influenza in the Czech Republic. Tests have shown that it is the H5 strain, which doesn’t pose threat to people.