Intelligence service disrupted Russian cyberattack using Dutch routers

THE HAGUE - The Dutch military intelligence service MIVD disrupted a cyberattack by Russian hackers by tracking down Dutch routers used in the worldwide attack network and taking them offline, De Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

According to the newspaper, a few dozen routers in the Netherlands, owned by private individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses, were hacked by notorious Russian military hacking group unit 74455 - part of Russian intelligence agency GROe. The devices formed part of a worldwide attack network consisting of thousands of hacked devices, according to the newspaper.

Exactly how many Dutch routers were involved is unclear. It is also unclear whether Russia used this attack network in connection with the war in Ukraine. The MIVD informed the hacked routers' owners and confiscated some of the devices, MIVD director Jan Swillens said to the Volkskrant.

The MIVD decided to make the discovery public, even though intelligence services seldomly publish the threats they detect. According to the Swillens, the service decided transparency was more important in this case. "The threat is sometimes closer than you think," he said to the Volkskrant. "We want to make Netherlands residents aware of that. Dutch routers, say owned by the bakery on the corner, are used by a state actor."

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