Dutch Widen Inquiry Into Hacking of Official Sites
The Dutch government said Tuesday that it was widening its investigation into an Internet security breach in an effort to learn whether the private data of Dutch citizens, many of whom file income tax returns online, had been compromised.
The Dutch data protection agency has asked the government security contractor at the center of the controversy, DigiNotar, to report whether the integrity of special digital certificates that guarantee the authenticity of interactions with government computers had been breached.
“We are hoping to receive an answer from DigiNotar within a few days,” said Harriet Garvelink, a spokeswoman for the agency in The Hague, who said the request was made Friday.
The hacking scandal in the Netherlands, one of the most digitally advanced countries in Europe, erupted last week when DigiNotar disclosed that hackers had broken into its systems in July and issued fraudulent digital certificates, which are used to verify the authenticity of Web sites. An independent report released Monday traced the origin of the breach to Iran.
“DigiNotar found evidence on July 28th that rogue certificates were verified by Internet addresses originating from Iran,” said the report prepared by Fox-IT, a company hired by the government to investigate the breaches.
Google said last week that users of its services “primarily located in Iran” may have been affected by the use of fraudulent certificates issued by DigiNotar. These could allow a hacker to intercept information moving between a user and a service like Gmail that appeared to be secure.