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New cyber-information attack, targets Minister of National Defence




The currently unfolding complex cyber-information attack has affected “Kas vyksta Kaune” news portal as a piece of disinformation misleadingly stating there is an investigation by law enforcement carried out. The fake news has also spread across social media. The National Cyber Security Centre urges the citizens to think critically and not to give in to manipulation.


The National Cyber Security Centre is investigating the attack.


The attack started on 10 April night when e-mail letters were sent out from a forged e-mail address pretending to be of a Ministry of National Defence employee. The letter with false content “informs” about a large corruption case at the Ministry of National Defence.


The letters also include links possibly leading to malicious addresses.


On preliminary data, the letter sent to several e-mail addresses at the President’s Office, the Government, and the Seimas falsely informs about an audit carried out at the Ministry of National Defence and finding a possible case of corruption there. The false content of the letter says Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis took a bribe of USD 586 thousand in the process of weaponry procurement procedures and that one of the banks in Lithuania has documents proving it.


The National Cyber Security Centre under the Ministry of National Defence began an investigation and warns not to send forward these letters nor open the link in them. Director of the National Cyber Security Centre Dr Rytis Rainys says it is a typical cyber-attack based on the social engineering method: a counterfeited e-mail address, convincing text aiming at deceiving or misleading, the e-mail address is faked by other countries’ infrastructure. According to the official, the content, structure and malicious links are currently investigated by National Cyber Security Centre experts.


“This incident is just another piece of evidence that in the age of technology we are living in the conditions of cyber warfare. I have no doubt that the real aim of the attackers is to discredit not only me as a politician but also the entire National Defence System and to hurt the public trust and support to the Armed Forces,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis, currently on a visit in Ukraine, says.


This is not the first cyber-attack carried out on the Minister of National Defence. An analogous case was seen in January 2018: website of one of Lithuania’s media outlets was hacked and e-mails containing malicious code were sent to Lithuania’s top leadership.


The annual report of the National Cyber Security Centre on the condition of Lithuania’s cyber security for 2018 states that the number of cyber-attacks based on social engineering grew exponentially last year.

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