ICC says ‘unprecedented’ cyberattack in September was probably espionage attempt

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The International Criminal Court on Friday said an “unprecedented” cyberattack it suffered in September was probably “espionage” aimed at undermining its work.

The attack comes at a time of heightened security concerns for the ICC, the Hague-based court said.

Russian investigators had opened criminal cases against the ICC prosecutor and judges who issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin over the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.

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A Russian spy posing as a Brazilian intern had nearly succeeded in infiltrating the court in 2022.

And the court had “undergone daily and persistent attempts to attack and disrupt its systems,” it said.

The ICC said the cyber incident in September was a “targeted and sophisticated attack with the objective of espionage” though it did not yet have enough information to confirm who was responsible.

“The court... will continue to take all necessary steps to address any compromise to data belonging to individuals, organizations and states,” it stressed.

It said it was ready “to respond to any potential repercussion... including any potential security risk to victims and witnesses, court officials and the court’s operations.”

Dutch authorities say the Russian spy, identified as Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, could have accessed “highly valuable” intelligence on the ICC’s probe into war crimes in Ukraine or influenced criminal proceedings.

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