Prime minister’s e-mails hacked

06-01-2016

Hackers reportedly targeted Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s private e-mails, hacking his address and publishing correspondence online. Police are investigating the incident.

Bohuslav Sobotka, photo: Filip JandourekBohuslav Sobotka, photo: Filip Jandourek A fortnight ago, right-wing extremists hacked Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s twitter account, posting fake tweets in his name calling for a “white revolution” and labelling migrants an “invading army”. At the time, the prime minister responded by saying the false tweets only proved he was doing his job well.

Now, hackers have apparently focussed on Mr Sobotka again, this time finding their way to private e-mails in a personal account reportedly with the Czech search engine Seznam. E-mails retrieved by the group calling themselves the ‘Nationalist Hackers’ reportedly included correspondence on everything from political and economic issues to private matters: from the migrant crisis to Czech oil reserves held in Germany to the prime minister’s own mortgage.

All the same, Radek Holý of the National Cybernetic Security Centre told Czech Radio, he didn’t think news of the apparent hacking was as serious as might seem.

“Considering just how often hackers try to get into accounts, I don’t think the news is that grim. But certainly hackers can have numerous motivations… Certainly it might be preferable for [someone like the prime minister] to rely on their work e-mail, with better security, when it comes to sensitive matters.”

Photo: Czech TelevisionPhoto: Czech Television The Office of the Government did not confirm or deny the apparent attack but police spokeswoman Ivana Nguyenová confirmed that the police were investigating the matter, without providing any additional information. The prime minister’s spokeswoman, Irena Zatloukalová meanwhile, revealed that her boss’ email wasn’t hacked at all, but that someone, somehow, had managed to learn the password.

“It’s possible that the password was too simple or some kind of social engineering was used to learn it. It’s also possible a computer virus played a role.”

The prime minister is not the only state representative or public figure to have been targeted by hackers: in the past others who have had information stolen and published online include former government ministers for human rights Džamila Stehliková or Michael Kocáb, as well as well-known theologian scholar and priest Tomáš Halík.

06-01-2016