Norway’s police intelligence agency PST has launched an investigation into this week’s hacker attacks, which Justice Minister Monica Mæland has branded as “very serious.” Speculation was flying over whether the attacks were part of an espionage operation carried out by a foreign state.
“The digital room makes it easier for foreign states to use non-military means in an entirely different manner than earlier,” Mæland told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). She met reporters while speaking, ironically enough, at a cyber security conference in Lillehammer, not far from where the second of two targeted attacks affected around 10,000 municipal employees in Hedmark, Innland County.
The first attack, against the Norwegian Parliament, was revealed earlier this week. Email accounts of various Members of Parliament and state employees were broken into despite a security system that several data experts described as “impressive.”
“We’re in a pandemic and have digital threats,” Mæland told DN. “Both are very serious,” she added, not least at a time when communication during the Corona crisis is critical. She noted that the attacks also came at a time when many people are working from home .
“It’s important that remote access services are secure so that we can do our jobs in a secure manner,” Mæland added, noting that weaknesses “can undermine our society and destabilize democracy.”