Friday, September 22, 2023
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Kazakhstan Government Computers Hacked

SAN JOSE (CN) - Hackers broke into Kazakhstan's computer network, stole sensitive emails and documents from the country's Ministry of Justice and posted them online, the country claims in a lawsuit against 100 John Does.

The country discovered the "major breach of its computer systems" on Jan. 21, according to the bare-bones, Feb. 20 complaint in Santa Clara County Court.

"Without permission whatsoever, defendants hacked into the email accounts of a number of plaintiff's high-ranking officials, including Marat Beyetayev (Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan), and Andrey Kravchenko (of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan)."

Kazakhstan says the hackers posted the "thousands of private, confidential, and government business emails and other documents" on the website .

That website, checked Tuesday morning, was in service, in the Kazakh language, in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Some of the stolen documents are "strictly privileged, attorney-client communication," at least one of which was posted on Facebook, Kazakhstan says.

It claims that the hackers did it to "devise and execute a scheme or artifice to defraud, deceive and/or extort," though the complaint does not state whether any officials have been subjected to extortion demands.

It claims the hackers also altered damaged, deleted and destroyed data, software and computer programs.

It seeks a protective injunction and exemplary damages for computer fraud and abuse.

It is represented by Robert Phillips, with Reed Smith, in San Francisco.

Like many states of the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan is run by a strongman, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been president of the country since the Soviet Union collapsed. He has won every presidential election since 1991, typically with more than 91 percent of the vote.

The country has been accused of the mass torture of political protesters.

As early as 2006, in a United Nations report , Nazarbayev was accused of having squirreled away more than $1 billion from the country's oil revenue.

The country awarded him its Man of the Year award in 2012, along with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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