During the past week, the Norwegian parliament experienced a cyber-attack and some elected members’ email accounts, as well as officials, were compromised, the national assembly and a counter-intelligence agency said on September 1.
In a press release, Stortinget director Marianne Andreassen said the hackers breached email accounts of elected officials and employees and stole different quantities of information.
Andreassen said the incident is under investigation at the moment, and so they couldn’t provide further information such as who was behind the attack or how many numbers of accounts compromised. The Norwegian National Security Authority (NSA) was called in after the incident was discovered to tackle the attack and to find more information about the attack.
The incident is currently being investigated by Norway’s intelligence service and Stortinget has already begun to alert the affected members and employees about it.
According to the local press, who first broke the news of the attacks, it was also reported that the IT workers of the parliament shut down their email service to prevent the hackers from obtaining further data.
Andreassen said the parliament had found a few irregularities about a week earlier. They have introduced several urgent risk-reducing steps to halt the attack. He added that the effect of those measures was immediate. It did not reveal specifics of what kind of cyber-attack was used against the Norwegian parliament or who was responsible for it.
Incident response: Steps taken by the Government of Norway
The Norwegian Parliament Storting had told the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSA) of the cyber-attack incident. On 1 September 2020 an official complaint was also lodged.
The complaint included evidence of the classified information theft, unauthorized access to parliament members’ email accounts, to assist police in carrying out further inquiries. Leaks by an opposition party spokesman indicated that the cyber-attack was also conducted on a few Labour Party representatives. Detailed information is yet to be discovered on the hackers’ action plan, purpose of the attack, motive, etc. In the press release Director Marianne said, the last week during which the hackers initiated the attack a significant amount of irregularities in login were reported. Marianne explained that the full scope of the cyber-attack and the amount of data accessed are yet to be enlightened. The suspects are yet to be found as a thorough investigation is under way.
The NSA has been working closely with the Norwegian Government to assist them with the incident response protocol, so that there is no repeat of such an occurrence. A tweet was posted online by the Norwegian Police Security Service, claiming that they will take over the cyber-attack investigation until they receive the same official police report.
Parliamentary Members Hit by Cyber-attack
Reports have confirmed that the cyber-attack has targeted Conservative Party members in Norway. The Conservative Party is the coalition government of Norway’s ruling party. But the names of the exact party members whose email addresses were compromised have not yet been released.
In addition, the attack had also targeted members and staff of the largest opposition party, the Labour Party. Government has yet to confirm the specifics on the hacked documents.
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