Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hackers leak thousands of Defense Ministry documents; AMLO confirms revelations of health issues

President López Obrador has confirmed that an international group of hackers stole thousands of emails from the IT system of the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena).

The messages and attached documents – some of which contain information about President López Obrador’s medical issues including a serious heart problem he suffered earlier this year – were leaked to the media outlet Latinus by the Guacamaya group of Central American hackers.

Carlos Loret de Mola, a Latinus journalist, presented details about the leaked information during his online program on Thursday.

“An international group of hackers has exposed tens of thousands of emails stored in Ministry of National Defense servers. Communications from 2016 to September 2022. … Texts, attached files, information cards, letters, videos, many of which are classified as confidential,” he said.

A Twitter account claiming to represent the hacktivist collective Guacamaya has shared information related to the leak of Mexican military documents. Guacamaya has also leaked information from the Chilean army, and claims to have documents from security forces in El Salvador, Peru and Colombia.

Loret charged that the successful incursion into the army’s servers was “the most serious violation” ever of the federal government’s cybersecurity. Among the information gleaned from the cyber attack was that López Obrador was flown by air ambulance from Chiapas to Mexico City in January for treatment of “high risk unstable angina,” a serious heart problem.

“Neither [the president] nor anyone from his government referred to the emergency transfer or the serious diagnosis,” Loret said.

López Obrador on Thursday confirmed that Sedena was hacked and admitted that he has various health issues.

“It’s true there was a cyber attack – that’s what they call information theft, and through these modern mechanisms they extract files,” he said. “They’re very specialized people, not just anyone,” López Obrador added.

For online profiles, the hacker collective Guacamaya uses art showing its avian namesake programming on a computer.
For online profile pictures, the hacker collective Guacamaya uses art showing its avian namesake programming on a computer. Guacamaya via Vice

The president – who had a heart attack in 2013 – said the information about his health problems has been disclosed previously, but conceded that it wasn’t publicly known that he was flown by air ambulance to the capital from Palenque, where he has a ranch.

“There was a risk of heart attack and they took me to hospital. And they recommended a [cardiac] catheterization, remember that?” López Obrador said.

“… I’m sick. I have several ailments. There is only one thing I don’t have and that’s an alcohol problem,” the president said, before remarking that his health is in fact good.

“I take a cocktail [of medications] at night for several conditions” including high blood pressure and thyroid issues, “but I am very well, … I get a check-up every three or four months,” López Obrador said.

President López Obrador at his morning press conference, with a Chico Che album coverprojected in the background.
As AMLO confirmed information leaked about his health problems at Friday’s news conference, he took a moment to play a humorous song for the audience: “No Me Quiso El Ejercito,” (“The Army Didn’t Want Me”) by Chico Che. Presidencia de la República

Returning to the cyber attack, the president said that a change of software allowed it to happen. “They took advantage of … a change … in the information system,” he said, adding that he didn’t expect any negative consequences from the security breach.

Among the other information exposed by the hacking and subsequent leaking of the stolen emails to the media were details about the 2019 military operation against one of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s sons in Culiacán and differences of opinion between the army and the navy.

One internal army document said that nine people died when the Sinaloa Cartel reacted aggressively to Ovidio Guzmán’s arrest, one more than officially reported. Another document noted that López Obrador ordered the release of Guzmán, as the president revealed himself.

Loret, an outspoken critic of López Obrador and the federal government, took to Twitter Friday morning to note that the president had accepted that the army was the victim of a “historic hacking.”

“Thousands of confidential documents show what AMLO has lied about, from his health to military operations,” he wrote.

With reports from Latinus, Reforma, El Universal and Infobae

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