Dutch tech reporter gatecrashes EU defence secret video conference

A Dutch tech reporter gatecrashed a video conference of EU defence ministers after the Dutch minister shared an image on Twitter.

Dutch journalist Daniel Verlaan of RTL Nieuws broke into a secret video conference of EU defence ministers after the Dutch defence minister Ank Bijleveld posted on Twitter an image of the call that accidentally exposed login details.

The tech journalist caught the login credential in the image and used it to join the meeting, the photo contained the login address and part of the PIN code.

“You know that you have been jumping into a secret conference?” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

“Yes, yes. I’m sorry. I’m a journalist from the Netherlands. I’m sorry for interrupting your conference,” Mr Verlaan replied, to laughter from officials. “I’ll be leaving here.”

“You know it’s a criminal offence, huh?” Mr Borrell replied. “You’d better sign off quickly before the police arrives.

The meeting was halted due to the intrusion, and the incident was reported to the authorities.

The image shared by the minister only contained part of the PIN code, but after a number of attempts the journalst guessed the secret code.

“In a number of attempts, RTL News managed to guess the pin code of the secret meeting, because five of the six digits of the pin code were visible in the photo.” reported the RTL Nieuws.

“After logging in with the correct pin code, there was no extra security, RTL News was immediately admitted to the meeting and Verlaan has identified himself as a journalist.”

The incident raises serious questions over the security of secret meetings of Government organizations, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Dutch defence ministry spokesperson admitted the error and defined it as a “stupid mistake”.

“This shows how careful you have to be with these kinds of meetings,” says Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “A meeting of the Ministers of Defense is never innocent. Caution is advised. The only by-product of this is that Bijleveld has pointed out to other ministers how careful you have to be.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, malware)

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