Hackers have once again infiltrated computer systems at the Norwegian Parliament, where officials confirm that information has been illegally seized. The extent of the attack remained unclear Wednesday afternoon.
“An attack like this shows that our democratic processes are targets,” the president of the Parliament, Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
The Parliament (Stortinget) was also hit last autumn by hackers who infiltrated email accounts including those of top Norwegian politicians. “The threat picture is changing quickly all the time and is steadily more demanding,” Trøen said. Norway is highly digitalized with sophisticated systems and well-informed users, yet the hackers still get through security programs designed to keep them out.
In this case, reported state officials, the attackers managed to exploit vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange systems used at the Parliament. Officials said they see no immediate connection between the attack discovered in September and the one now.
“We can see that they’ve dug out data, but we don’t have a full overview yet,” said Marianne Andreassen, who heads the Parliament’s administration. “The situation remains unclear and we still don’t know the full scale of damage.”
Police have been called in to investigate. The Parliament may be the latest victim of attacks worldwide that are tied to Microsoft Exchange. Norway’s Oil Fund was also hacked last year and Norway’s National Security Authority (NSM) issued warnings that emergency updating should have been in place by last Wednesday.
“This is an attack on our democracy,” Trøen said.