Computer systems at two European Union institutions are currently under attack as hackers seek to disrupt important talks on the situation in Libya.
The European Commission confirmed to V3.co.uk that its systems are under attack, and explained that "urgent measures" are being taken to protect systems.
"The Commission and the European External Action Service are indeed subject to a cyber attack. We are taking urgent measures to protect both institutions," said a spokesperson. "An enquiry has been launched, and is ongoing."
As is often the case with security-related events, the institution is reluctant to talk about the scale of the attack or what it is doing to counter it. The Commission also refused to discuss the origin of the attacks. However, it has promised to update on the situation in the next few hours.
"As this is a security issue, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage. We are not going to speculate on the source of the attack at this stage - in any event, identifying the origin of such attacks is always extremely difficult," said the spokesperson.
Reports suggest that the Commission has asked all its users to change their passwords, and has closed down its intranet and blocked external access to emails.
Although the EC was reluctant to place responsibility for the attacks on any one party, Rik Ferguson, European director of security research at Trend Micro, said the attack has echoes of a recent assault on the French government which may have been carried out by China.
"Details on the nature, extent and consequences of the attack are currently very few but the timing and targeting are highly reminiscent of the attack against the French finance ministry two weeks ago which reportedly targeted information relating to the G20 summit," wrote Ferguson in a blog post.
"Cyber espionage, just like cyber crime, is more simple to perpetrate, more difficult to spot and carries much less risk than the more traditional methods. This is the new front line."
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