World News

OSCE victim of cyber attack

VIENNA (Reuters) - The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has been the target of a cyber attack, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The French newspaper Le Monde said a Russian hacker group was behind the attack, but the OSCE, a security and human rights watchdog, said it did not have the capability to investigate the report.

“There was an attack. We found out about it at the beginning of November,” a spokeswoman for the Vienna-based OSCE said, confirming a story published in Le Monde.

“The systems are safe now. We were given entirely new security systems and passwords,” she added.

An unnamed Western intelligence source quoted by Le Monde attributed the hacking to the Russian cyber espionage group known as APT28. That same source told Le Monde that the group was also behind attacks on the U.S. Democratic party leadership during the U.S. presidential campaign.

The spokeswoman said the OSCE was aware of “speculation” that APT28 may be behind the attack. “But we don’t have the capacity to conduct such an investigation and we don’t want to speculate,” she said.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia tried to influence the Nov. 8 election by hacking individuals and institutions, including Democratic Party bodies.

The 57-member OSCE is best known for observing elections and for its role in Ukraine, where it monitors a ceasefire agreement to end fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists in the east.

Its members include both the United States and Russia and also Ukraine.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, Writing by Ingrid Melander, Editing by Angus MacSwan