Italy investigating effort to hack foreign ministry site

Italy investigating effort to hack foreign ministry site
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Italy’s foreign ministry said that authorities are investigating an attempt to hack its website. 

The ministry acknowledged the investigation in a statement on Tuesday after a group identifying itself as “We are Anonymous” purported to publish stolen ministry data, according to Reuters.

“Following a hacking attempt against the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, a complaint has been lodged before the competent authorities and an investigation is already underway,” the ministry said in a notice on its website.

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“It is hoped that the Prosecutor’s office will shed light on what happened and the Ministry's engineers will provide all the necessary support,” the ministry said.

The ministry provided no details about the origin of the hacking attempt or whether malicious actors successfully breached the website.

The notification came after a blog post titled “Foreign Affairs Ministry You Have Been Hacked” appeared on a website called cyberguerrilla.org. The blog post, dated June 19 and addressed to Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, purported to include data stolen from the ministry, according to Reuters. 

“We already knew that we Italians were paying," the blog post said. "In the meantime please enjoy the uncensored publication of some data stolen from your precious information systems.”

The post was signed by “We are Anonymous,” appearing to reference the loosely organized global hacker group. 

The website included tables listing travel and expense records and also uploaded Excel files with email addresses and other information. It is unclear whether the information was authentic. 

The ministry said in the statement that “every single Farnesina invoice is regularly approved by the Accounting Department and meets the legitimate requirements the administration needs to function,” in reference to its headquarters at the Palazzo della Farnesina in Rome. 

Italy’s foreign ministry was the target of a sustained cyberattack last year in which authorities reportedly suspected Russia had a hand.