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Turkish suspect identified in Vienna airport cyber attack

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Turkish suspect identified in Vienna airport cyber attack
Photo: Frank-Peters/Depositphotos
09:55 CET+01:00
An investigation into a failed cyber attack on Vienna airport has found that the main suspect is based in the US.

Hackers attempted to bring down the airport's computer servers in September last year, but were prevented from doing so. They did however manage to infect many of the computers with malicious software.

The Kurier newspaper reports that Austria's military secret service has traced the attack back to a Turkish man living in the US state of Kentucky. Arslan A., also known as Osman T. or General Osman, has a military background in Turkey.

Photos posted on social media appear to show him wearing the uniform of a Turkish paratrooper, carrying out exercises at a Turkish military training ground. He has also worked as a cyber security specialist.

In a tweet last September, the hacker group “Aslan Neferler Tim” or “Lion Soldiers Team” says it launched the attack in response to the “racism” of airport authorities.

It was referring to the refusal of Austrian officials to issue a group of Turkish nationals emergency visas that would have allowed them to leave the airport and stay the night in a hotel after their flight was grounded for technical reasons

Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundböck confirmed that a suspect is now under observation, but would not go into further details. "This is an ongoing, long-term investigation… and we don't have a date for when we will make the result of the investigation public,” he said.

Diplomatic relations between Austria and Turkey took a downward turn last year after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz warning he will stop any move that brings Turkey closer to joining the European Union.

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