Norwegian officials following Swedes’ IT scandal closely

Bookmark and Share

Norwegian security experts and government officials are concerned about a severe breach of computer security in Sweden that made it possible to spread sensitive, confidential information. Norway and Sweden have similar government systems, experts note, and both countries need to put much higher priority on the security of computer files.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has now admitted that the situation is “very serious” and has put Sweden’s government and Swedish citizens at risk. In an effort to save money, the head of Sweden’s transport authority defied warnings from security experts and the country’s own intelligence officials and put IT operations out to bid. That ultimately allowed large computer firm IBM access to the Swedish transport authorities’ own computer systems, along with Eastern European consultants who had no security clearance. They could thus gain access to sensitive information and copy files containing details of transport infrastructure, military secrets, names of spies and even lists of people granted secret identities.

Kristian Gjøsteen, a professor and information expert in Norway, said the Swedish scandal that’s now threatening to bring down Löfven’s government shows that much more knowledge of computer systems and security is needed among top government and business leaders. He drew parallels to a recent case in Norway, in which state broadcaster NRK revealed how Norwegian health authorities had contracted out data operations that gave foreign IT workers access to sensitive patient records. Other experts argue that no computer systems should be outsourced abroad, because it’s too easy to lose an overview of who actually has access to critical information and operations. staff