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Dutch Officials got Suspension for Hacking Press Agency’s Computer

A temporary suspension order has been carried out on some officials of the Dutch Social Affairs Ministry, Minister of Social Affairs, Hein Donner, announced on November 6, 2007. EarthTimes reported this on November 6, 2007.

The order was passed after news reports came in that some members of the staff of the communications department of the social affairs ministry allegedly broke into the computer network of the GPD press institute and attempted to twist its stories.

The number of suspended staff, however, remains unknown as the minister did not disclose it. He said that an investigation was being conducted to probe the affair.

The incident came to people's notice about two weeks back when the chief of the ministry's media office called up GPD, a press agency associated to the ministry and provider of news feeds to regional papers, to ask the agency to make some alterations to a particular story that was waiting to be published. At that time, records from the press institute's computers indicated that during June 2006 to October 2007, the communication department officials of the ministry hacked the institute's computer systems 350 times or even more.

According to Marcel van Lingen, Editor in Chief of GPD, the hacking exercise enabled the communications department officials of the ministry to be up-to-date with the stories in the articles that the journalists at GPD were making, reported China News on November 6, 2007.

The Dutch Central Criminal Intelligence Agency is probing the case to determine if any criminal offense has taken place. The journalist association NVJ's spokesperson said that the incident was something more than crossing the mark by a communications department, reported China News. It was a case of going against the constitutional principles of the state, the spokesperson added.

On November 5, 2007, GPD declared that it would approach the police to lodge a complaint about the security breach. Meanwhile, the ministry has been requested to make the incident clear to the parliament. And in The Hague, the public prosecutor is waiting for the investigation results to decide whether a criminal lawsuit against the suspended staff would be required, reported EarthTimes.

Related article: DDoS Attacks In China Leave The Websites Wounded

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