Azerbaijani hacktivists have leaked the passport details of foreign visitors to Armenia and more after breaking into Armenian government servers.
The incident shows that cyber-conflict in cyberspace extends well beyond far more well publicised conflicts between Russia and the Ukraine or India and Pakistan.
The self-style Anti-Armenia Team claimed credit for a series of dumps of data they claim came from servers of Armenian national security ministry.
“We would like to notice that Anti – Armenia team is an independent group, who is active for five years and repeatedly makes anxious Armenian side by its cyber attacks,” the group told El Reg.
Independent security intelligence experts confirmed to El Reg that the dumps (which include private info such as passport scans) are real. Internal resources of the SNS (Security Service), used for updating information about passports and visitors to Armenia (foreign passports) have been exposed.
Other compromised information includes internal analytical reports, possibly by their Security Service and intended for their government, have been leaked as well.
However, a cyber security intelligence expert quizzed by El Reg reckons that the leaked information is more likely to have come from an insider than a hack on Armenian government systems, as the hacktivists claim.
“I am familiar with the incident, and [can] confirm, that such attacks really happened, and the documents are legitimate and not fake,” our source explained. “I have more confidence that one of their employees having access to it has been compromised and technical border control service is a part of SNS (Security Service), that's why there is such overlap, and the documents could be stolen from particular person, and not ‘systems’, like they claim.”
Armenia and Azerbaijan are neighbouring countries that fought a war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh (largely ethnic Armenian) region between 1988 and 1994. Relations between the two remain very tense, decades later. Azerbaijani forces sought to regain control of the Armenia-backed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in April, resulting in the death of an estimated 350 people during four days of hostilities. ®