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(Bloomberg) — Opponents of the Belarus government said they have pulled off an audacious hack that has compromised dozens of police and interior ministry databases as part of a broad effort to overthrow President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
The Belarusian Cyber Partisans, as the hackers call themselves, have in recent weeks released portions of a huge data trove they say includes some of the country’s most secret police and government databases. The information contains lists of alleged police informants, personal information about top government officials and spies, video footage gathered from police drones and detention centers and secret recordings of phone calls from a government wiretapping system, according to interviews with the hackers and documents reviewed by Bloomberg News.
Among the pilfered documents are personal details about Lukashenko’s inner circle and intelligence officers. In addition, there are mortality statistics indicating that thousands more people in Belarus died from Covid-19 than the government has publicly acknowledged, the documents suggest.
In an interview and on social media, the hackers said they also sabotaged more than 240 surveillance cameras in Belarus and are preparing to shut down government computers with malicious software named X-App.
Belarus’s interior ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment. On July 30, the head of the country’s KGB security agency, Ivan Tertel, said in a speech aired on state television that there had been “hacker attacks on personal data” and a “systematic collection of information,” which he blamed on the work of “foreign special services,” according to local news website Zerkalo.io.
While the immediate impact of the hack isn’t entirely clear, experts said the long-term consequences could be significant, from undermining government proclamations to bolstering international efforts to sanction or prosecute Lukashenko and his subordinates. “If ever Lukashenko ends up facing prosecution in the International Criminal Court, for example, these records are going to be incredibly important,” said Tanya Lokot, an associate professor at Dublin City University who specializes in…