Russia Accused Of Cyber Attack On Norway

Russia has been accused of carrying out a "significant" cyber-attack on the Norwegian parliament in August. In this attack/hack, unauthorised individuals got access to the email accounts of several elected members of the Storting, Norway's single-chamber parliament.

The cyber criminals also hacked into accounts belonging to the parliament’s employees. An unspecified amount of data was stolen and this has members of Norway's main opposition party.

Norway's foreign minister, Ine Eriksen Soereide, told reporters that the attack was created by Russia and she said it is very a serious incident affecting the country's "most important democratic institution.....This is a serious event that hit our most important democratic institution.... Based on the information available to the government, it is our assessment that Russia stood behind this activity."” said Soereide.

Soereide did not give details of any action that Norway might take against its neighbor. A Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman declined to comment when asked whether Russia would be asked to recall its ambassador or any of its diplomats from Norway. 

Moscow has rejected Norway's claim, calling it a ‘serious and willful provocation.’ In addition, the Russian embassy referred to the fact that Russia does not blame the authorities of other countries in such cases, despite the fact that millions of cyber-attacks are annually committed on Russian state Internet resources from abroad, including from foreign missions in Norway.

These sort of events go back also to September 2018 when a Russian IT adviser named Mikhail Bochkaryov was arrested at Oslo Airport after exhibiting strange behavior at an IT conference held in Norway's parliament.  Bochkaryov, an employee of the Russian parliament's upper chamber, had been attending a seminar organised by the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation on the Storting's digitalisation process. 

Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) said the IT professional had been detained on suspicion of illegal intelligence activities and later released with charge.

  • In 2017, Norway accused APT 29 of carrying out spear-phishing attacks on Norway’s foreign ministry, army, and other institutions. Arne Christian Haugstoyl, an official with PST, said that the group, which has "links to the Russian authorities," had targeted nine different email accounts.  
  • 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 had good relations, but these have become strained since Russia's annexation of Ukrainean territory in the  Crimean peninsula 

RFERL:         Infosecurity Magazine:         Security Week:        BBC:         112 UA

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