Bulgarian officials revealed Tuesday that unidentified hackers have stolen the personal details of millions of Bulgarians through the country’s National Revenue Agency (NRA), a department of the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance.
According to a report from The Washington Post, the leak includes names, home addresses, financial earnings, and other personal data of about 5 million of the country’s 7 million citizens. It has been the biggest among all leak cases recorded in Bulgaria to date.
“Earlier today, emails of certain media have been sent a link to download files allegedly belonging to the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance. We are currently verifying whether the data is real. Further information will be provided later,” wrote the NRA on a post published on their website Monday.
According to a series of reports published by a few local media networks who have received parts of the stolen data, hackers have revealed they have stolen 110 databases from NRA’s network, which totals to 21 GB of data. At the moment, only a number of 57 databases were shared by the culprits, but they have assured they’ll be exposing the rest in the coming days.
The recent security threat has urged Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to call for an emergency meeting with all law enforcement services in the country. After the assembly, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov confirmed they were able to identify the Russian mail provider Yandex as the domain hackers used to contact local media.
The Finance Minister also added they have already requested help from the European Union’s cybersecurity agency to deal with the matter.
During an interview with the bTV channel, Interior Minister Mladen Marinov suspected that the attack could be politically motivated, as it had coincided with Bulgaria’s purchase of US F-16 fighter jets for its air force.
“Organised criminal groups involved in cyberattacks usually seek financial profits, but here political motives are possible. The government decided yesterday to buy F-16 jets,” Marinov explained.
The finance minister, however, said the cyberattack had occurred before the deal was sealed.
According to local Bulgarian media, the email sent by the hackers included a call for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in Britain and is also currently facing an extradition request by the U.S. on espionage charges.
Local media quoted the hackers’ email saying, “the state of your cybersecurity is a joke.”