Europol has blamed a rogue officer for a security breach that led to some 700 pages of sensitive data about investigations being exposed online.
The breach occurred when a supposedly experienced national police staffer took dossiers home to make private backups of the files - a move that breached Europol policy. The breach was exposed by Dutch TV show Zembla.
The files reportedly referenced 54 separate European investigations, including an analysis of the Hofstad Network, the Madrid bombings and foiled attacks on airplanes with liquid explosives.
They also featured "hundreds of names" and telephone numbers believed to be linked to terrorism, alongside information on investigations never made public.
Europol has confirmed the breach, with a spokesperson saying in a statement to Phys.org: "The concerned former staff member, who is an experienced police officer from a national authority, uploaded Europol data to a private storage device while still working at Europol, in clear contravention to Europol policy," he explained.
The police agency says it's carrying out a full investigation into the breach, but says that it doesn't appear it was "ill-intended."
"A security investigation regarding this case is ongoing, in coordination with the respective authorities at national level to which the staff member returned. Current information suggests that the security breach was not ill-intended," the spokesperson added.
"Although this case relates to Europol sensitive information dating from around 10 years ago, Europol immediately informed the concerned member states. As of today, there is no indication that an investigation has been jeopardised, due to the compromise of this historical data."
Just last week, the European Union's legislative body, the European Commission was hit with a "large-scale" distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that knocked its website and internal computer systems offline for "several hours".
It's unclear why the Commission was targeted, and the group of hackers who launched the attacks is not yet known. However, Commission says that it has already started an investigation and will share more information at a later time.
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