Another certificate authority in The Netherlands has been hacked, though this time the attack does not appear to have affected the certificate-issuing operations of Gemnet, a subsidiary of KPN. The company, which does business with the Dutch government among other organizations, said it has taken its Web site offline while it investigates the attack.
The attack came to light Wednesday, and while the details are limited at this point, the company said that the attackers went after the public Web site and were able to compromise the server and access some private data and documents stored on the back-end database. Gemnet is owned by KPN, a large Dutch telecom and Internet company.
“The hack of the site has no connection with the issuance and management of Government PKI certificates. The general website Gemnet (www.gemnet.nl) since Wednesday December 7 temporarily not accessible to visitors. The website, part of KPN, by Internet journalist Brenno de Winter Wednesday afternoon reported a possible hack. The hack would be performed on the server: the server that the general visitor information visible. KPN was immediately launched an investigation into possible causes and origins,” a translation of a KPN press statement says in part.
Last month, another KPN-owned company, Getronics, was involved in a somewhat similar incident. In that case, company officials suspended the issuance of certificates by Getronics after finding indications of a compromise of the company’s network that may have been as much as four years old.
But the biggest Dutch CA compromise in recent months was the attack on DigiNotar this summer, that had wide-ranging consequences. That attack, which compromised the company’s CA infrastructure, resulted in the major browser vendors having to revoke trust in the DigiNotar root CA. The company eventually was taken over by the Dutch government and later declared bankrupt.
KPN officials said that they’re conducting an investigation of the attack on its Web server and looking for ways that it can improve the security of its network operations.