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International Criminal Court hit in cyber-attack amid Russia war crimes probe

The International Criminal Court said crooks breached its IT systems last week, and that attack isn’t over yet, with the ICC saying the “cybersecurity incident” is still ongoing.

In a statement shared via the site formerly known as Twitter, the Hague war crimes tribunal said it detected “anomalous activity” at the end of last week, and immediately took action “to respond to this cybersecurity incident and mitigate its impact.”

The statement continued:

An ICC spokesperson declined to answer The Register‘s questions about the intrusion, including who was behind the attack, how they broke in, if they stole any data, and whether the breach was fully contained.

“Looking forward, the court will be building on existing work presently underway to strengthen its cyber security framework, including accelerating its use of cloud technology,” the statement said, noting that the ICC “will not be providing further information in relation to the incident at present.”

It does not appear that any ransomware or other criminal gangs have claimed credit for the infiltration as of yet.

The security breach comes as the ICC probes suspected war crimes committed by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.

In March, ICC judges issued arrest warrants against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova for allegedly transporting kids from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia, acts which are designated as war crimes.

These two warrants related to the ongoing war in Ukraine bring the total to 13 pending arrest warrants, according to the court.

These warrants make the ICC a “prime target for cyber attacks,” Jelle Wieringa, security awareness advocate for EMEA at security shop KnowBe4 told The Register.

Because the ICC has information on criminal cases, “access to this information for the purpose of tampering with it, or for intelligence, is a powerful way for bad actors to influence and disrupt the proceedings of the international criminal justice system,” Wieringa said.

“Judging from their statement, the ICC is on high alert and dealing with the ramifications of a cyber attack,” Wieringa added. “While the ICC is a highly professional organization that pays a lot of attention to its cyber defense, this incident shows that really no organization is exempt from cyber attacks.”

The ICC incident follows several high-profile ransomware attacks in recent weeks. These include extortion attempts targeting the UK’s Greater Manchester Police, the US-Canada International Joint Commission, which manages water rights along the two countries boarders, and two Las Vegas casino and hotel chains, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts. ®