[FREAK] It’s not just carnivalists who master the art of disguise

    Heir to ancient Roman rituals, the Lupercalia, Carnival is an excellent opportunity to transform yourself into a fictional or historical character for a festive day. This disguise game, popular in many European countries, is also the preserve of hackers. As a means of concealment, we find phishing campaigns, a process by which the hacker will send fake e-mails to obtain the recipient’s personal data. This unsophisticated piracy was allegedly used over a period of three years against European Union diplomats to recover confidential correspondence, known in diplomatic jargon as “cables”.

The phishing campaign is reported to have targeted diplomats from the Republic of Cyprus. Hackers reportedly recovered passwords allowing them to connect to the system used by the EU for diplomatic cable exchanges. This system, called Coreu (European Correspondence), is not intended to be used to discuss sensitive and confidential information, which is shared in other communication systems that are more secure according to EU representatives. If the information stolen from European diplomats would not be sensitive, it would still be relevant in terms of intelligence on European positions in terms of international politics.

An economic intelligence company, Area 1, founded by several former executives of the American agency NSA, reportedly detected this leak, revealed by the New York Times. This piracy reminds us of the 2010 WikiLeaks case, where more than 251,000 American diplomatic cables had leaked and were widely distributed on the Internet, unlike the Coreu-Leak case.