The International Criminal Court (ICC), headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, has determined that a cyberattack against its systems last month was attempted “espionage“.

The ICC detected a serious cyber security incident in September and made various and serious efforts to address this attack.

In a statement, the ICC said it had since determined that this incident was a “targeted and sophisticated attack” with the “objective of espionage”.

“The attack can therefore be interpreted as a serious attempt to undermine the court’s mandate,” the court said late on Friday.

The ICC holds sensitive information related to alleged war crimes and data about witnesses who could be at risk if their identities were exposed.

This latest attack came at a time of broader and heightened security concerns for the court.

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“Several elected officials, including Judges of the Court and the Prosecutor, have had criminal proceedings initiated against them; the Court has recently undergone daily and persistent attempts to attack and disrupt its systems; and the Court averted an almost successful attempt to infiltrate a hostile intelligence officer into the Court under the guise of an intern,” said the ICC.

As soon as the incident was confirmed, steps were taken to mitigate its effects by initiating an immediate incident response with the support of the Netherlands, the Host State, and external cyber security experts.

Based on the forensic analysis carried out, the court said it has taken all necessary steps to address any compromise to data belonging to individuals, organizations, and States.

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As part of a broader assessment of potential actions by threat actors, the Court has also identified that disinformation campaigns targeting the ICC and its officials may be anticipated to be launched in an effort to tarnish the ICC’s image and de-legitimize its activities.