Iberdrola's head office in Madrid. / afp

A cyber-attack on Spain's electricity giant Iberdrola has accessed data of 1.3 million clients

Security experts are trying to ascertain whether the Kremlin was behind the massive attack, but police say the hackers did not manage to obtain the clients' financial details

MELCHOR SÁIZ-PARDO Madrid

On 15 March Iberdrola suffered a cyber-attack in which hackers obtained the personal information of 1.3 million clients, the company has confirmed. The information included ID numbers, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, but the police say those responsible did not access “sensitive” information such as bank account details, credit card numbers or information about the clients’ use of energy.

Iberdrola says the incident was resolved on the same day and on the following day its IT experts identified further massive attacks which failed.

The company has warned its clients to be careful about any emails or other communications they receive which are not clearly identifiable and which ask for information such as bank details, credit cards or passwords, and also to be wary of any files attached to these messages.

Simultaneous

Iberdrola says this attack was carried out almost simultaneously with others in Spain and Europe, including the Cercanías local rail service in Madrid, the Spanish parliament, which suffered problems with its website for hours, and several regional institutions. “We were warned by the US authorities, who said it was possible that we would be subject to a cyber-attack because of the critical situation at the moment,” say sources at the multinational.

Computers in Siberia

The National Cryptology Centre (CCN) which specialises in investigating cyber-attacks, is trying to ascertain whether Russian espionage is behind this offensive on Spanish companies and institutions. The attack on parliament “passed through” computers situated in Siberia, its experts say, but so far they haven’t been able to prove that the Kremlin is behind the attempted sabotage on Spain’s legislative body.

Nevertheless, last Friday, ten days after the attack on Iberdrola, the CCN warned that it was expecting the cyber war launched by the Kremlin against western countries when it invaded Ukraine to be resumed in forthcoming weeks. It said new cyber-attacks by hackers “associated with” Russian secret services were imminent.