The defence minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, has revealed that Russian hackers have been targeting Danish Defence for the past two years, but with limited success.
Frederiksen confirmed what was written in a new report just published by the Centre for Cyber Security (CFCS): that a Russian hacker group has gained entry to employee emails in 2015 and 2016.
“What’s happening is very controlled. It’s not small hacker groups doing it for the fun of it,” Frederiksen told Berlingske newspaper.
“It’s connected to intelligence agencies or central elements in the Russian government, and holding them off is a constant struggle.”
Fancy Bears and honey traps
According to the CFCS report (here in Danish), the hackers have only managed to gain access to non-classified information, but the attacks can still damage Denmark’s security as the information gleaned can be used to recruit, blackmail or plan further espionage.
The report also said it was “very likely” that the hacker group APT28 – also known as Fancy Bear – is behind the cyber attacks. The group is allegedly controlled by the Russian government and, according to the US authorities, was also responsible for hacking the Democratic Party during the US elections last year.
The news comes just days after a risk assessment from the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (DDIS) indicated that Danish soldiers being deployed in Estonia at the end of the year should be wary of so-called Russian ‘honey traps’.