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Dutch Authorities Investigate DigiNotar After Hacker’s Attack

Dutch authorities began investigating DigiNotar BV after hackers attacked the Internet- safety company, targeting websites such as Facebook Inc. and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Opta, the Dutch data protection agency, has started an investigation into the reliability of DigiNotar’s safety certificates, Harriet Garvelink, a spokeswoman for the government agency, said by phone. Public prosecutors will separately start a probe, spokesman Ernst Koelman said. DigiNotar is a unit of Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois-based VASCO Data Security International Inc. (VDSI)

Web-security company Fox-It, which was hired by the government to investigate the breaches, determined that hackers issued fraudulent safety certificates via DigiNotar for websites run by companies including Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Google Inc. and Facebook as well as the CIA, according to research posted on the Dutch government’s website yesterday.

DigiNotar provides safety certificates for state and commercial websites in the Netherlands. The Dutch government said Sept. 3 that it no longer trusts certificates issued by DigiNotar. “A part of Dutch Internet traffic is no longer safe,” the government said.

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DigiNotar found evidence on July 28 that rogue certificates were verified by Internet addresses from Iran, according to the Fox-It report. "Current analyses still show hacking attempts on the webserver originating from Iran," it said.

”This really is an international issue,” Internal Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner said in a parliamentary debate in The Hague today. “Faith in digital communication traffic has been harmed.”

DigiNotar said in a statement on its website that it’s cooperating with the Dutch government in the replacement of certificates by other parties. A DigiNotar representative couldn’t be reached for comment today.

A hacker, known as the ComodoHacker after he attacked Comodo Group Inc in March, said he was behind the attack against DigiNotar, security firm F-Secure Oyj said. On pastebin.com, a website where users can store text online for a set period, ComodoHacker said he still has access to four other certificate providers, according to F-Secure.

Royal KPN NV, the biggest Dutch phone company, said today orders for its website-safety certificates have increased. KPN has not identified potential attacks at its ”trusted services” unit, spokeswoman Renee Schnitzler said.

“We are making maximum use of our capacity,” she said by telephone. Among the parties placing orders is the Dutch government, she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maaike Noordhuis in Amsterdam at mnoordhuis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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