Hackers broke into Paris Presidential Palace
Unknown attackers gained access in May, in the run up to the Presidential election, to secret information regarding the French government. The cyber attackers say that several of the computers of top advisers of now former President Nicolas Sarkozy were affected in the attack according to a report in French news magazine L'Express. The computers attacked were said to have contained strictly confidential, strategic documents.
To gain access to the network of the presidential palace, the hackers began by using social engineering. They first identified individuals in the social network of people working at the presidential palace, then, pretending to be those friends invited the employees to connect to the intranet of the Élysée. The victims would follow the link but were actually seeing a replica of the Élysée Palace's web pages controlled by the hackers. The victims would be prompted to log in to the system but were in fact giving their user name and password to the attackers.
The next step in the attack involved installing a spy program similar to the Flame malware that then spread between systems including infecting the system of the Secretary General, Xaviar Musca. The malware then set about stealing notes, strategy plans and other documents. Sarkozy apparently escaped the attack by virtue of not having a PC at the Élysée palace, but the similarity to Flame of the malware led some French officials to blame the United States for the attack. The US Embassy in Paris said it "categorically refuted the allegations which appeared in an article in L’Express".