Russians hacked the Dutch police servers – and the mitigation was even worse than attack itself

Authorities went to full panic mode and in fact destroyed the evidence instead of examining it

In 2017, the Russian foreign security service SVR hacked into the computer systems of the Dutch police. As soon as the Russians were inside the systems, police were investigating the shooting down of Flight MH17.

According to the newspaper, the hack was not noticed by the police, but came to light in september 2017 thanks to intelligence from the AIVD. The police do not want to “confirm or deny”the attack. The AIVD also gives no comment.

The AIVD saw that a Dutch IP address was hacked on a server of the Police Academy, after which the Russians could access police systems through that entrance. According to four sources, traces of the attackers were found at different locations.

This led to “great panic”. Not only because the MH17 investigation took place at that time, but also because the police systems turned out to be poorly secured. The monitoring of the systems did not work properly and log data was not correct. As a result, it was almost impossible to see where the hackers were or had been.

Researchers then decided to remove the Russians from the systems as soon as possible. So they wouldn’t know what the impact of the hack would be. In this way, it was not clear whether and what data had been captured.

In the period after the shooting down of Flight MH17, Russia always tried to sabotage and undermine investigations. This was done, among other things, by influencing social media and by hacking involved agencies. The police and the Public Prosecutor were regularly subjected to phishing emails and attacks.

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