Names of terror suspects linked to the Madrid bombings leaked online by Europol officer

Names of terror suspects linked to the Madrid bombings leaked online by Europol officer

The European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol, recently suffered a data breach and confidential information concerning terror investigations was leaked online.

A police officer working for the European agency exposed sensitive data about security investigations on a hard drive linked to the web. Around 700 pages on terror investigations were accessible online, found by a Dutch TV programme Zembla, including analysis of terror groups, and names and contact details of people with terror links.

A security investigation is now being carried out after what the agency called “a very serious incident”. However, Europol spokesman Gerald Hesztera told the Telegraph: “current information suggests the breach was not ill-intended.”

Europol confirmed to the BBC that the officer had copied the data to a personal drive, which was not encrypted, in “clear contravention” of the agency’s rules.

The files included analysis of the Hofstad Network, a Netherlands-based Islamist terror network, the Madrid bombings and a foiled attack on airplanes, said Zembla. The police officer involved has since left Europol.

The material found on the hard drive was around 10 years old and Hesztera said there had been “no indication” that any current investigation had been compromised by the breach. Member states affected by the breach were informed of what happened and Europol has stressed it has since increased its security measures to prevent something like this happened again.

Europol is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, and assists EU member sisters in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism.