February 27, 2021

Netherlands Acknowledges Hacking of Government Sites

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government said Saturday it could not guarantee the security of its own Web sites, days after the private company it uses to authenticate them acknowledged it had been hacked. An official also said the government was taking over the company’s operations.

The announcement affects millions of people who use the Netherlands government’s online services and rely on the authenticator, DigiNotar, to confirm they are visiting the correct sites. To date, there have been no reports of stolen identities or other specific security breaches.

Officials stopped short of telling people not to use government Web sites, but said they should heed warnings posted on the sites or from their browsers. Already, Google and other major Web browser providers have begun rejecting security certificates issued by DigiNotar.

It is unclear who is behind the hacking, though Google said last week that those affected “were primarily located in Iran.” The hacking’s extent also is unclear, and investigators are trying to find out how many bogus certificates were issued, and what other sites — or countries — were affected.

Piet Hein Donner, the Dutch interior minister, said that, for now, a user of government sites could not be certain “that he is on the site where he wanted to be.”

Earlier in the week, DigiNotar acknowledged it had been hacked in July, though it did not disclose it at the time. It said as late as Tuesday that its certificates for government sites had not been compromised.

But Mr. Donner said a review by an external security company had found DigiNotar’s government certificates were compromised, and that the government was now taking control of the company’s operations.

“As distressing as this situation is for DigiNotar, the company is cooperating in a professional manner,” he said.

DigiNotar could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/world/europe/04hack.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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