Norway accuses pro-Russian hackers of launching wave of DDoS attacks
Norway’s National Security Authority (NSM) accused pro-Russian hackers of launching several distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks at a number of critical organizations in the country.
The NSM did not respond to requests for comment but the organization’s director Sofie Nystrøm released a statement saying several large Norwegian organizations were taken offline by the attacks in the last 24 hours.
“What appears to be a criminal pro-Russian group seems to be behind the attacks. The attacks are aimed at a number of large Norwegian companies that offer important services to the population,” Nystrøm said.
“We have seen similar attacks in other countries recently, but none of these have reported lasting consequences. The attacks will still be able to create uncertainty in the population, and give the impression that we are a piece in the current political situation in Europe. NSM assists in handling the attacks.”
Nystrøm held a press conference to describe how the directorate – which is under the Ministry of Justice and Emergency Preparedness and works with the Ministry of Defense – is responding to the issue.
The NSM worked with companies in May to “make sure that they were able to handle denial of service attacks,” she said.
The agency would not say which organizations were attacked. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority was one of the organizations offline on Wednesday and named by Reuters as one of those affected by the attacks.
The Associated Press tied the attacks to a dispute over transit through Norwegian territory to an Arctic coal-mining settlement controlled by Russia.
Norwegian outlets said the country’s ambassador to Russia was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday after Norway stopped Russian supply ships from getting to the Barentsburg settlement in the Svalbard archipelago, which Norway controls but allows other countries to access for natural resources.
The attacks also came hours after Norwegian officials helped push NATO to adopt Finland and Sweden as members.
The cyberattacks took place just days after a hacking group aligned with the Russian government – named Killnet – took credit for a large cyberattack on several government institutions in Lithuania on Monday.
The hackers said they launched the attacks after Lithuanian officials refused to allow steel, coal and other metals to be transported through the country to Kaliningrad due to European Union sanctions.
Ausra Vaitkeviciute, spokesperson for Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence, told The Record that the DDoS attacks against the country are ongoing but noted that the scale of the attacks “was comparatively lower” than what was seen on Monday.
“There were fewer state information resources affected, partially due to the increased cyber defence measures and also because a large number of attacks were aimed at the private sector,” Vaitkeviciute said.
“Killnet continues to announce new targets. Most of the affected resources were unavailable for a limited time and quickly restored operation.”
Hackers aligned with Russia have attacked several countries that have come out in support of Ukraine after Russia invaded the country earlier this year.
In April, a group launched distributed denial-of-service attacks against several websites connected to government agencies and a bank in Romania.
Two weeks later, the same group used a similar method to attack the websites of Italy’s parliament, military and National Health Institute.