By Giuseppe Gagliano –
A Dutch hacker who targeted a large Dutch-based booking website has been linked to intelligence agencies in the United States, according to a report released Wednesday by three Dutch intelligence reporters, Merry Rengers, Stijn Bronzwaer and Joris Kooiman. In a lengthy report published on NRC Handelsblad, https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2021/11/10/spion-andrew-zocht-bij-booking-uit-wie-naar-midden-oosten-reisde-2 -a4065012
They argue that the 2016 attack targeted a popular airline and hotel booking website jointly owned by Dutch and US venture capital firms.
The authors said the booking portal’s interest in security services was not “surprising”. The website contains valuable information such as “Who, where, when, where the ambassadors are, who travels to suspicious countries or regions, senior officials book a trip with their secretary … all valuable information for intelligence services. The world.”
According to the report, the hacker was able to access their accounts by breaking into an insecure server and stealing customers’ personal identification numbers or PINs. As a result, the hacker stole “hotel and airline booking details” from thousands of Middle East booking portal customers. The hacked clients include Middle East – based foreign diplomats, government officials and other “US intelligence operatives”.
After detecting the breach, the booking portal conducts an internal investigation that verifies that the hacker, nicknamed “Andrew”, has “links with US intelligence agencies”. The agency then enlisted the help of the Dutch Public Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD). However, at the same time, the portal company consulted with a British law firm, which advised them not to disclose news of the hacker attack. So he chose not to publicize this incident, according to the NRC article.
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