Norway says Russia behind cyberattack against its parliament

The Norwegian parliament says it came under cyber attack in August and email accounts of many politicians were hacked.

Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Soreide said her country "cannot accept" such attacks [Orn E. Borgen/Reuters]

Russia was behind a cyberattack launched against the Norwegian parliament in August targeting the email system of the country’s parliament, the Norwegian foreign minister said.

On September 1, the Norwegian parliament said it had sustained a cyberattack during the previous week and that the email accounts of several politicians and employees had been hacked.

“Based on the information available to the government, it is our assessment that Russia stood behind this activity,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The fact that we go out with an attribution is a strong signal … from Norwegian authorities,” Soreide told reporters outside the ministry.

When they first announced the incident, Norwegian authorities did not say who they thought was behind the attack.

Norway wanted to have a pragmatic relationship with Russia, but could not accept such attacks against its democratic institutions, Soreide added, when asked whether the attack would have consequences for the relationship between Norway and Russia.

“We cannot accept that parliament is the subject of such attacks.”

The Russian foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters news agency while officials at the embassy in Oslo were also not immediately available for comment.

In its annual threat assessment published in February, Norway’s Police Security Service (PST, the domestic intelligence agency) warned of “computer network operations” that it 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 a 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 the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Source: News Agencies