Journalist “hacked” closed video conference of EU ministers

The Dutch TV journalist reviewed the code of the secret videoconference of the heads of the EU defense departments and the password to it on social networks and connected to this meeting for a few minutes. He left immediately after being asked to leave the conference and warned of possible responsibility for this act.

A Dutch TV reporter joked for a moment in a secret video conference of EU defense chiefs held at Zoom on November 20. RTL Nieuws journalist Daniel Verlan posted a video of his entrance to this conference on his Twitter page.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, who chaired the meeting, asked him to disconnect from the videoconference and warned of criminal responsibility for this step.

After that, Verlan immediately apologized for interrupting an important conference, said goodbye and cut the connection.

He connected to a secret video conference from the apartment. When he entered it, he waved his hand to the ministers. His appearance among the 28 participants of the conference (27 EU countries and the presidency of Borrell) was immediately noticed, as a satisfied journalist appeared on the screen in a black T-shirt and against the background of an ordinary apartment, while the rest of the conference participants sat in suits and against the background of national flags. The appearance of a media representative caused slight confusion and laughter.

As the journalist himself explained, he was able to connect to the conference due to the fact that he simply disassembled in one of the photos on Twitter of Dutch Defense Minister Anki Beyeveld the meeting code and password for connecting to Zoom.

At a videoconference of defense ministers on November 20, a secret draft of the future military concept of the European Union called “Strategic Compass” was considered. As a result of the press conference, Borrell stressed that the “Strategic Compass” is being created on the basis of the combined data of intelligence services of all EU states. For this reason, the project document will not be published and will remain strictly confidential.

The act of the Dutch journalist became an occasion to raise the topic of security and discuss important issues on the Internet. An EU spokesman called the incident “embarrassing.”

“Next time it may be a hacker, and we will no longer laugh,” the diplomat emphasized.

He drew attention to the fact that Verlaan's visit was illegal, so he promised to report the incident to law enforcement agencies.

As it turns out, hacking sites intended for use by government officials around the world is not that difficult. At the end of October, the Dutch computer security specialist Victor Gevers announced that he had solved the password of US President Donald Trump on Twitter on the fifth attempt, Volkskrant reported.

As Gevers argued, Trump typing “maga2020!” Upon entering Twitter, which stands for Make America Great Again 2020! — the campaign slogan of the American president.

According to him, he was able to change the password for the account, put a new profile picture, and also read private messages. The next day, when logging into the account, a two-factor authentication system worked.

Later, he was contacted by the American special services, which requested information from him. Gevers forwarded the required information and received thanks for this, the newspaper reports.

At the same time, information security specialists doubted the veracity of such a statement. They claim to have found inconsistencies in Gevers' story. At the same time, he himself stated that he no longer had access to the account, therefore he could not provide any evidence.

The hacking of the account was denied both in the White House itself, as well as on the Twitter media platform.

“We do not have any evidence to support this claim [about the hacking],” a social network representative stated. He stressed that the accounts of officials and organizations associated with the upcoming elections in the United States had previously been further strengthened for security reasons.

“This is an absolute lie, but we are not commenting on the security procedures associated with the president’s social media accounts,” said Judd Deere, Deputy White House spokesman.

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