Dutch study possible Iran hacking of government web sites

Sun Sep 4, 2011 3:10pm EDT
 
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government said on Sunday it was investigating whether Iran may have been involved in hacking Dutch state websites after digital certificates were stolen.

Dutch Interior Ministry spokesman Vincent van Steen declined to say whether Iranian authorities in the Netherlands or Iran had been contacted, and said more details would be published in a letter to the Dutch parliament early next week.

But van Steen confirmed the veracity of a report by the Dutch news agency ANP saying the cabinet was looking into whether the Iranian government played a part in breaking into Dutch government websites.

Such web sites may no longer be safe after the digital theft of internet security certificates from Dutch IT company DigiNotar, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Officials at the Iranian embassy in The Hague were not immediately available for comment nor was there an immediate reply to emails asking for comment.

Google said in its security blog on August 29 that it had received reports of attacks on Google users, that "the people affected were primarily located in Iran," and that the attacker used a fraudulent certificate issued by DigiNotar.

DigiNotar's systems were hacked in mid-July and security certificates were stolen for a number of domains, DigiNotar and its owner, U.S.-listed VASCO Data Security International, said on August 30.

Relations between Iran and the Netherlands deteriorated early this year when a Dutch-Iranian woman was hanged in Iran in January and buried without her relatives being present. She had been arrested after taking part in demonstrations and accused of drug smuggling.

In April, the Iranian embassy in the Hague criticised the Dutch government after an Iranian asylum seeker who was being extradited set himself on fire in Amsterdam and died.   Continued...