foreign ministry

There’s been a glut of news lately regarding the potential for hacking and political movements. After the recent allegations against the Trump administration, as well as the notorious exposure of the internal emails of the French election, it should be no surprise that hackers have continued the attacks. Unlike links to Russian hackers within the government, these most recent issues have surfaced because of the attempts by the Italian government’s foreign affairs positions, and the Anonymous group’s disapproval of the use of funds by the government office.

The foreign ministry of Italy announced an investigation of a hacking attempt of stolen ministry data. The news broke Tuesday after a group named Anonymous claimed to have released stolen ministry information. Anonymous posted the blog to cyberguerrilla.org and titled it “Foreign Affairs Ministry You Have Been Hacked”. The blog was addressed to Foreign Minister Angelina Alfano and the head of the national magistrates association.

The foreign ministry responded with a strong statement: “Regarding the attempted hack of the ministry’s website, a legal complaint has been lodged and investigations are now underway. We hope the public prosecutor’s office will shed light as soon as possible on what happened, and, to this end, the ministry’s technicians are working to give all possible support.” It is not clear if any sensitive information was leaked, nor were any suspects mentioned.

The hackers left a message for the foreign ministry to go along with the exposed data, “Do keep having fun at your summits, in your commissions…G7, G8, intelligence, surveillance, terrorism.” It was then signed “We are Anonymous”, and “We are AntiSec Italy” with a date post of June 19.

The leaked documentation includes links to excel files of a number of private email addresses as well as detailed logs of ‘staff expenses’ and travel costs accrued by the ministry’s personnel. Apparently the hacking group’s goal is to expose the use of funds without approval and the overuse of government funds for personal uses by the staff.

The blog included the following statement: “We already knew that we Italians were paying. In the meantime please enjoy the uncensored publication of some data stolen from your precious information systems.”

Countless opportunities for hacking have already led to the Italian government’s attempts to bump up cyber security in order to control access to its most sensitive documents. In the most current case, the ministry stated that “every ministry invoice is duly examined by the state accounting office and complies with the legitimate operating needs of the administration.”

Anonymous continues to make inroads into government actions that it deems inappropriate, pushing for greater levels of scrutiny and transparency among government officials. As the digital climate continues to change internationally, and hackers continue to find ways to access the private files of governments, the need for greater levels of security becomes more and more clear. What’s more, governments are already seeking to increase the transparency of their documentation where possible in order to increase public confidence.

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