Thousands of the EU's diplomatic communications were intercepted by hackers over a three year period according to The New York Times (opens in new tab).
The data breach was first discovered by the cybersecurity firm Area 1 who found copies of the cables posted on an open internet site set up by those responsible for the breach.
European officials say that any information marked as confidential was not affected by the hack though the cables due contain messages between diplomats covering a range of subjects from US President Donald Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping's thoughts on a possible trade war between it and the US.
According to one expert interviewed by The New York Times, the methods used by the hackers were similar to those previously used by an elite unite of China's People's Liberation Army.
Diplomatic cables exposed
One of the diplomatic cables leaked online highlighted an exchange between diplomats describing President Trump and Vladimir Putin's July meeting as “successful (at least for Putin)”.
Another message involving Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed that the country “would not submit to bullying” from the US “even if a trade war hurt everybody”.
These remarks took place at a meeting that occurred earlier this year but given the current climate between the US and China, it is particularly telling now.
The UN and a number of other institutions were also reportedly affected by the breach.
Via The BBC (opens in new tab)
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