It has been reported that sweeping cyberattacks targeting governments and other organisations in Europe and the Middle East are believed to be the work of hackers acting in the interests of the Turkish government, three senior Western security officials said. The hackers have attacked at least 30 organisations, including government ministries, embassies and security services as well as companies and other groups. Victims have included Cypriot and Greek government email services and the Iraqi government’s national security advisor, the records show. The attacks involve intercepting internet traffic to victim websites, potentially enabling hackers to obtain illicit access to the networks of government bodies and other organisations. According to two British officials and one U.S. official, the activity bears the hallmarks of a state-backed cyber espionage operation conducted to advance Turkish interests.
Commenting on this, Sam Curry, chief security officer at Cybereason, said “It should come as no surprise that Turkey and other countries are carrying out targeted attacks against foreign powers for political and economic reasons. The Turkish government didn’t recently wake up and decide to carry out a sophisticated number of attacks against other nations.
It’s important not to play the speculation game, but believe it or not Turkey is a major player in the cyber arena and has been for years. What this newest discovery does is reinforce how complex the world of espionage, cyber crime and nation-state hacking is. Turkey has offensive and defensive cyber capabilities and, while not a superpower, it is a player in the geopolitical landscape and, by extension, of the cyber landscape.
Hacking between Turkey, the US and other nations, is just an extension of politics by other means, to paraphrase Clausewitz. Turkey’s offensive campaigns are likely yielding significant results and we can expect more of the same in the months ahead. What we might not know in the short or long term is what responses are being carried out by governments that have been victimised.”