SHARE
COPY LINK

RUSSIA

Norway accuses Russia over cyber attack on parliament

Norway's government on Tuesday said that it believes Russia was behind an August cyber attack targeting the email system of the country's parliament.

Norway accuses Russia over cyber attack on parliament
The parliament building in Oslo. File photo: AFP

The attack was detected in August, when Norway announced hackers had attacked the parliament's email system, gaining access to some lawmakers' messages.

“Based on the information the government has, it is our view that Russia is responsible for these activities,” foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in a statement.

The foreign ministry did not specify what information prompted its conclusions, but encouraged companies to follow guidelines on cyber security.

“This is a very serious incident, affecting our most important democratic institution,” she added.

In its annual threat assessment published in February, Norway's PST domestic intelligence service warned of “computer network operations” which they said represented a “persistent and long-term threat to Norway”.

In 2018, NATO member Norway arrested a Russian national suspected of gathering information on the parliament's internet network, but released him several weeks later due to lack of evidence.

The two countries, which share a common border in the Arctic, have generally enjoyed good relations but those have become strained since Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

READ ALSO: Norway's parliament attacked by hackers

Member comments

  1. Ridiculous and risible. Russia is the scapegoat that systematically accused by the west whenever something goes wrong. It is all part of this western mental disease called Russophobia.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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

SHOW COMMENTS