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Elysée hackers use Facebook trap

Staff at the Elysée were lured into giving away intranet login details in an attack linked to the USA

HACKERS who broke into the president's computer systems, accessing highly secret documents and possibly recording conversations, used Facebook to lure Elysée staff into giving away their login details.

The attack took place during the second round of the French presidential elections. It was the biggest security breach in France since the computers of the Finance Ministry were hacked.

Story: Cyber attack on Finance Ministry

Hackers gained access to computers of some of the most powerful members of the president's entourage.

The attack was based in the United States, according to L'Express magazine which has seen details of a national report into the incident, and adds that it may even have been the work of the US government.

When challenged by the magazine the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano refused to confirm or deny the allegations, simply commenting that France was an important ally.

The attackers found that several Elysée staff were friends on Facebook and made friends with some of them via false profiles.

They then sent a message inviting them to connect to the Elysée internal network including a link to a fake version of the login screen. They then collected the login details as they were entered.

Once they had gained access to the intranet they introduced a virus which was capable of capturing screen shots, switching on microphones and recording, and browsing and downloading documents, including top secret information.

The virus, according to the report, resembled that of the Flame virus developed by the US and Israel.

“Such was the sophistication of the attack that the suspects are limited to a handful of countries,” said L'Express.

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