Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been lying about a March 2022 report on Russian cyberattacks by denying its authenticity, reported Hungarian news outlet 444.

In 2022, the ministry referred to the claims as “campaign lies” when questioned by 444, where the latter cited a detailed investigation by another Hungarian news outlet, Direkt36, whose report said Russian hacking activities have been ongoing for at least a decade and compromised high-level access.

According to 444, despite the ministry’s denial of the incidents, they have recently obtained a report from the country’s secret services, addressed to the ministry, that detailed the consequences of the hacks and identified Moscow as the culprit.

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In the September 2021 report, addressed to the ministry’s then-state secretary responsible for civilian intelligence, Hungary’s National Security Service’s (NBSZ) Lieutenant General Hedvig Szabó outlined the consequences of the Russian hack, which included the compromise of “administrator accounts with the highest privileges.”

“The Directory service, the mail service, the file server service, and an unspecified part of the user’s workstations, which provide service to the [the ministry’s] systems and perform user identification and authorization management, were compromised, including the administrator accounts with the highest privileges,” the report read.

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The report also specified the advanced persistent threat (APT) – a cybersecurity term for a state or state-sponsored group with an unauthorized long-term presence – behind the hacks, which included Russia’s Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (GRU), Federal Security Service (FSB) and Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

The news outlet also cited other hacking incidents that took place in 2021, which it said have compromised Hungarian diplomatic correspondence and database servers.

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On Monday, journalists from 444 questioned Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó about his knowledge of the incident, which he denied.

However, when Szijjártó was confronted by the September 2021 report, he said authorities must have eliminated the threats and questioned the 444 journalists in return regarding the legality of obtaining such documents, to which 444 said the documents “do not fall under the scope of the Act on the Protection of Classified Data.”

In November 2021, Szijjártó was awarded the Order of Friendship personally by Russian President Vladimir Putin for his “great contribution to developing bilateral relations and industrial and investment cooperation.”

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