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Friday November 1, 2013 MYT 12:40:02 AM
Friday November 1, 2013 MYT 12:40:56 AM
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Foreign intelligence agents hacked into the Finnish foreign ministry's network and gained access to its communications for years, broadcaster MTV3 reported on Thursday, in an embarrassing security breach for the government.
MTV3, citing sources, said the hackers seem to have targeted communications between Finnish and European Union officials and also said Chinese and Russian intelligence agents may have been involved.
The data breaches were discovered this spring and are believed to have taken place over a period of up to four years, it said.
The foreign ministry could not immediately confirm the breach but said Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja would hold a news conference to address the report later on Thursday.
The report comes amid a global outcry over allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) collected data on millions of phone calls in Europe and snooped on leaders of major U.S. allies including Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The United States and other Western countries have often accused Russia and China of hacking into their computer networks, targeting both companies and government departments. Beijing and Moscow both deny direct involvement in hacking.
Finland's tiny Baltic neighbour Estonia blamed Russia when its Internet network was paralysed by an electronic attack in 2007. Unlike Estonia, Finland is not a member of NATO but cooperates extensively with the Western defence alliance.
(Reporting by Helsinki newsroom, editing by Gareth Jones)
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