Czech Republic Says Russian Hackers Were ‘Very Active’ There in 2016

Light trails from passing automobiles sit on a highway beside the Kremlin complex in Moscow.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Russian hackers conducted “very active” cyber attacks against institutions in the Czech Republic last year, according to the European Union member’s counter-espionage agency.

APT28 is a Russian hacking group, also known in the intelligence community as “Fancy Bear,” that’s been linked to attacks against the U.S. Democratic Party, the White House and NATO. It targeted Czech diplomatic, military and academic entities last year, the secret service, known as BIS, said in a report released on Tuesday. Using computers outside of the country, the group compromised several private email accounts of people linked to the Czech military, according to the report.

“It can be assumed that it will continue in the future,” said BIS, which has warned for years of the threat that Russian spying activities pose to the NATO member state’s security. “The misappropriated data and information may be used for various purposes, including political or scientific-industrial ends, discrediting specific persons or countries, and disinformation and blackmail.”

Cyber espionage is part of what BIS has described as an increase in the activities of Russian intelligence agents in the Czech Republic who often operate under the cover of the more than 150 diplomats Moscow has stationed in Prague. International tension over cybersecurity has escalated since the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russia meddled in last year’s presidential election with the goal of hurting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and helping elect President Donald Trump.

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