Back on 20 December 2021, Péter Szijjártó proudly flaunted the friendship medal he received from the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lavrov Sergey upon Putin’s order. The Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade did so despite the fact that he had been long aware of the Russian Secret Intelligence Services’ cyberattacks targeting the information network of the Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade, which is happened to be governed by Szijjártó himself.
According to Direkt36, it was already known by the second part of the year that the Russians had fully compromised the information and internal mail systems of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including hacking an encrypted network that served the purpose of securely storing top-secret political documents which were otherwise supposed be handled with utmost confidentiality.
Based on the news outlet information,
these attacks targeting the Hungarain Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade still continued into January 2022.
Former officers of the Hungarian Secret Intelligence Service informed the news outlet that upon examining the traces of the cyberattacks, it can be almost certainly stated that they were committed by a group of hackers that work for the Russian Secret Intelligence Service.
These hackers are employed both by the formerly Putin-owned Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation and GRU, the Russian Military Secret Intelligence Service. According to sources,
Hungarian government agencies have been long aware of this hacker group for their decade-long malicious activity against Hungarian government networks.
Hungarian diplomacy has basically become an open book for Moscow after these numerous cyberattacks. Russians can well anticipate every move of the country as they are already aware of the plans of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. What is even more concerning is that all this is happening in a particularly critical period, in the middle of the Russia-Ukraine war. Russian infiltration was present not only before their invasion of Ukraine but remained partially active also during the EU and NATO crisis meetings.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian Government did not openly raise its voice against the Russian cyberattacks.
Direkt36 claims that the hackers used sophisticated phishing techniques and malicious email viruses to break into the system. The infiltration then spread across the entire internal system of the ministry. The cyberattacks affect all the computers of the headquarter, its 90 representatives and 150 entities. The former officers of the Hungarian Secret Intelligence Service assert that the information infiltration has been ongoing for such a long time that it cannot even be traced back anymore where and how the hackers penetrated the system.
Direkt36 tried to reach the Hungarian Ministry of Interior, responsible for cybersecurity and counter-intelligence, as well as the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office but received no answers to its questions.