12 Nov 2012

EU officials Hacked at Web Conference in Azerbaijan


Several EU officials were hacked during a web conference in the Azeri capital of Baku after criticizing restrictions the government imposes on freedom, according to European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes. Her advisers' computers were compromised at the Internet Governance Forum while they stayed at the hotel.

“The reality in Azerbaijan is harsh,” Kroes said in a blog post. “We see many arbitrary restrictions on the media. We see the exercise of free speech effectively criminalised. We see violent attacks on journalists. […] I was denied access to meet political prisoners, despite a commitment from the President himself. Activists were harassed at the Internet conference. My advisers had their computers hacked. So much for openness.”

The European Commission Vice President considered the internet in Azerbaijan a double-edged sword. "Unlike neighbouring Turkey and Iran, everyone in Azerbaijan has access – but on the other hand, they face the consequences if they use the Internet in a way the government doesn’t like,” she added after her trip to the country.

In a short comment for the Associated Press, Kroes’ spokesman declined to say who might be responsible for the cyber-attacks, but said the computers would be analyzed to see if any information was stolen. The EU staff was apparently hacked after clicking on an e-mail from Apple stating that an unauthorized party gained access to their computers.