SOFIA (Reuters) – A 20-year-old Bulgarian’s cyber security an employee has been arrested and charged with hacking into the personal and financial information of millions of taxpayers ‘ money, officials said Wednesday, as police continue to investigate whether the nation’s largest security breach.
People were walking out by the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency building in the center of Sofia, Bulgaria, on 16 July 2019. REUTERS/Dimitar Kyosemarliev
Bulgaria’s national regulatory authorities (NRAS tax and customs administration will be faced with a fine of 20 million euros ($22.43 million) for the hack, which was revealed this week, and it is thought to have compromised the records of nearly all of the adults are between the Bulgaria is 7 million people.
Yavor Kolev, the head of the police force’s cyber security unit, said a male suspect was arrested on Tuesday afternoon. Officers raided his home and office in Sofia, the capital, and seized computer equipment containing encrypted data.
“It’s the night of the relevant research has been carried out in a highly original, from which it appears that the defendant was connected to the crime,” Kolev said.
The investigation into the hack is still in its early stages, he added, and police are looking into the possibility that others were involved.
Sofia’s city prosecutor said the man had been charged with a computer crime, should be held for three days, and face up to eight years in prison if found guilty.
The attack has reignited a long-running debate over lax cyber security standards in the Netherlands. A person who claims to be a Russian hacker who is responsible for the violation, via e-mail to the local media on Monday, criticising the government’s cyber security efforts as “a joke”.
Speaking at a government meeting on Wednesday, Prime minister Boyko Borissov described the arrested man as a “wizard”, “hacker”, and that the country would be to rent a similar “great brains” to work for the state rather than against it.
However, some of the experts who have examined it, the stolen data is said to be the techniques that can be used in the attack is relatively simple, and it spoke more to a lack of appropriate data protection measures, then the attacker will have the ability to.
The reason for the success of the attack seems to not have the sophistication of the attacker, but the poor security practices of the NRA,” said Bozhidar Bozhanov, chief executive of the cybersecurity firm LogSentinel.
Kolev said that the arrested man was a researcher who has tested computer networks for any vulnerabilities to prevent cyber attacks. However, he has also been involved in a number of criminal activities, Kolev, added: “throughout his life, he has been on both sides of it.”
Bulgarian media identified the suspect as Kristian Boykov. George Yankov, senior manager of the Bulgarian office of the US cyber security company, CITY Group, said: Boykov, was an employee of the company, and confirmed that he had been arrested. He did not accept the allegations made against him.
Boykov’s lawyer, Georgi Stefanov, told Reuters his client denied the allegations against him. “He says that he is innocent and has nothing to do with the problem. The plaintiffs have a … accused him, in spite of a complete lack of evidence,” Stefanov said.
Boykov of bulgaria’s city of Plovdiv, about 80 miles (130 km) south-east of Sofia and was posted regularly on social media sites over cyber security and hacking news in the time of his arrest.
In 2017, he has made the national news after exposing the flaws in the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and training website, a work he described as “the fulfillment of my civic duty,” in a television interview. The Vice-Minister of Education and Denitsa Sacheva thanks Boykov at the time to be of help.
HEFTY FINES AND PENALTIES
The Bulgarian tax authorities are now faced with a fine of up to eur 20 million, or 4% of the annual turnover is more than the data breach, said Veselin Tselkov, a member of the council and the Commission on the Protection of Personal Data.
“The amount of the penalty depends on the number of people affected and the volume of the leaked information,” he told Reuters, adding that the commission is still waiting for a full report on the attack.
Bulgaria’s leading business organisation, BIA, who have warned about the potential for errors in the tax and customs administration and the protection of personal data in the system a year ago, claimed that the detailed information in the leaked documents are to be sent to each and every person and business is affected.
“We need to know, so that we can at least be aware of the potential hazards associated with it,” said BIA deputy head Stanislav Popdonchev.
The Bulgarian minister of finance Vladislav Goranov, has apologized for the attack, which may have been subject to the name of the millions and millions of people, and companies, and the information of income, tax returns, health insurance payments, and other loans.
The hack occurred at the end of June, and infected approximately 3% of the tax and customs administration’s database. Officials said earlier this week, the early signs suggests it was done from outside the country.
Additional reporting and writing by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Catherine Evans