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Bulgarian Authorities Say Suspect Detained In Massive Hacking Attack

Cybersecurity chief Yavor Kolev said the suspect was a 20-year-old Bulgarian.
Cybersecurity chief Yavor Kolev said the suspect was a 20-year-old Bulgarian.

SOFIA -- Bulgarian authorities said they detained a man suspected in a massive hacking attack that leaked personal financial data of millions of Bulgarians, the largest such leak in the country's history.

Officials have suggested the hack, revealed on July 16, may be linked to a recently announced $1.3 billion deal to buy F-16 fighters from the United States.

Yavor Kolev, chief of the Cybercrime Department of the Directorate-General for Combating Organized Crime, said in a televised statement on July 17 that the suspect was a 20-year-old employee of a cybersecurity company.

Kolev did not identify the man, but he denied media reports that he was a Russian citizen married to a Bulgarian woman.

Personal financial data of some 5 million Bulgarians and foreigners in the country were released to the media from a Russian-based e-mail domain, Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said on July 16. The information was stolen from Bulgaria's National Revenue Agency's systems.

It was the largest cyberattack in the country's history.

Some of the e-mails that were leaked called for the resignation of Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov.

Asked by reporters whether the hack was connected to the announcement five days earlier that Sofia was buying eight fighter jets from Washington, Marinov suggested it was.

"Organized criminal groups involved in cyberattacks usually seek financial profits, but [in this case] political motives are possible," Marinov said. "The government buy F-16 jets, and the e-mails calling for Goranov's resignation came from Russia. One can make a guess here."

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