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HACKING

Norway inmate hacks TV so can share porn

An inmate at Norway's Halden prison hacked the TV system so he could share pornographic films and secret messages with fellow prisoners.

Norway inmate hacks TV so can share porn
Norway's Halden prison has been lauded as "the most humane prison in the world". Photo: Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix

The inmate who hacked the system has now been transferred to another prison and officials at Halden are considering reporting the incident to the police.

Jan Strømnes, from Halden prison told Norway's VG newspaper that the prison authorities had become suspicious after they saw a spike in data traffic on the system. 

“We reacted when we noticed unusually high data traffic and that inmates were having more than the normal trouble with their TVs. In addition, we found a handwritten note with a log-in on an inmate during a search.” 

After the hack, inmates could use their TV sets to chat to each other and share files without the prison guard's knowledge.

Halden prison is a high security prison which opened its doors in 2010. The prison is focused on rehabilitation, rather that punishment and was built to resemble life outside of the prison walls as much as possible.

Inmates enjoy flat-screen TVs, an en-suite bathroom with ceramic tiles, and a mini-fridge in their cells. Time Magazine has hailed it as the “the most humane” prison in the world. 

The level of comfort at Halden has attracted international attention with a documentary, The Norden, featuring an American correctional officer's reaction to Halden prison.



Strømnes says he cannot guarantee that the TV system will not be hacked again.



“We have gone through the TV system with these security concerns in mind and built it up again. Today, inmates only have regular TV,” he told VG.

 

 

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HACKING

Norway accuses Russian hackers of parliament attack

Norway's domestic spy agency on Tuesday blamed a Russian hacker group linked to Moscow's military intelligence for a cyberattack on the Norwegian parliament earlier this year.

Norway accuses Russian hackers of parliament attack
Norway's parliament in 2013. Photo: Mike McBride/Flickr

The Norwegian intelligence agency (PST) said the likely perpetrators were the Fancy Bear collective — a group regularly accused of attacks including on the US election — but there was not enough evidence to pursue charges.

A “vast” cyberattack on August 24th gained access to the emails of some MPs and parliamentary employees, officials announced at the time, without speculating on the identity of the attackers.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide later accused Russia of being behind the attack, and PST investigators have now strengthened her claims.

“The investigation shows that the network operation which the Storting (Norwegian parliament) was subjected to was part of a broader national and international campaign that has been going on since at least 2019,” PST said in a statement.

“Analyses show that it is likely that the operation was led by a cyber actor … known as APT28 or Fancy Bear. This actor has ties to GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency.”

Using a method known as a “brute force attack”, where multiple passwords and usernames are submitted with the hope of eventually getting the right combination, the hackers were able to download “sensitive” information, PST said.

“The investigation has however not yielded enough elements to bring charges,” it said in a statement.

Russia's embassy in Norway has yet to comment on the PST findings, but in October it lambasted Eriksen Søreide's accusation as “unacceptable”.

“We consider this a serious and wilful provocation, destructive for bilateral relations,” the embassy said on its Facebook page at the time.

While relations are generally good between NATO member Norway and Russia, who share a border in the Far North, several espionage cases on both sides have soured relations in recent years.

Norway's intelligence agency regularly singles out Russia as one of the country's main espionage threats alongside Iran and China.

READ ALSO: Norway accuses Russia over cyber attack on parliament

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