ISSN 2330-717X

Alleged Bulgaria Tax Data Hacker Says He’ll Never Be Caught

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The Bulgarian authorities confirmed that the state’s Tax Revenue Agency has been hacked, while someone claiming to be the culprit said he was a Russian citizen and the authorities would never find him.

By Maria Chereseva

Bulgarian Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov confirmed on Tuesday that hackers have stolen many Bulgarians’ personal financial data by breaking into the country’s electronic tax refund system.

Goranov insisted the data stolen does not include classified information and does not “constitute a threat to financial security”.

Thousands of files containing data on millions of citizens were disseminated on Monday from a Russian-domain email address, after what Bulgarian media described as the biggest hack in the country’s history.

Goranov claimed that apart from the Russian email address used by the hacker or hackers to announce the leak, no evidence suggests a Russian connection with the crime.

However, a second email was sent from the same Russian email address to Bulgarian media on Tuesday, in which someone claiming to be the hacker said he was a Russian citizen married to a Bulgarian woman.

The anonymous email claimed that data had been stolen from the system for 11 years, and that it was hacked again in 2012, but nobody discovered that the hackers had “managed to infiltrate over 30 gigabytes of information”.

“Your stupid law enforcement won’t find shit… they will just cover up the real truth,” the email said.

It threatened to upload 21 gigabytes of data so that anyone can download it freely.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov has also suggested a possible Russian connection, speculating that the hack was staged in revenge after Bulgaria – a former satellite state of Moscow which is now an EU member – bought US-made fighter jets.

“A political analysis can also be made – the email comes from a Russian site … and a crucial decision to buy the F-16s aircraft was made yesterday,” Marinov told the bTV channel, Reuters news agency reported on Tuesday.

Bulgarian media reported on Monday that the private information obtained by the hackers includes personal identification numbers, names, addresses and even people’s declared income.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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