Votes in Slovakia's parliament suspended after alleged ‘cybersecurity incident’
The latest session of parliament in Slovakia was cut short last week after a cybersecurity incident allegedly crippled the body’s IT systems.
On Thursday, parliament speaker Boris Kollár held a televised briefing where he explained that voting would be canceled as an investigation is conducted into the incident.
"We have identified a cyber security incident... There is a signal coming from some point which jams our systems, computers, we cannot even serve the lawmakers in our cafeteria," Kollár told reporters in a televised briefing.
The National Security Office (NSB) later released a statement confirming that it received a report on a “cybersecurity incident” that occurred at the National Council.
They declined to provide more details about the situation and did not respond to requests for comment.
Officials gave conflicting information about the incident, noting that the National Council “reported that it registered IT service outages in the morning” that interrupted meetings. But NBU spokesman Peter Habara cautioned that the incident may not have been a cyberattack and may have simply been an outage, explaining that a cyberattack is an “intentional act.”
"The initial analysis of this cybersecurity incident revealed that the network communication showed abnormal behavior. As a result, the functionality of all components, including voting devices working on the network infrastructure of the SR SR, was affected," TASR spokeswoman Michaela Jurcová said.
Law enforcement agencies in the country are now working with National Security Bureau on the investigation.
Kollár called the incident “very serious” and canceled all meetings until November 8, noting that if the issue had been resolved quicker, parliament could have reconvened next week.
Some opposition parties in Slovakia questioned the decisions and the incident itself. Opposition politician Anna Zemanová told Euractiv that the delay until November 8 was “absurd” and claimed the attack may have been staged because several politicians from the ruling party were absent as they tried to push through important legislation.
Slovakia becomes the latest country to face cyberattacks on its parliament following incidents in Romania, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Finland and Latvia. Last week Bulgarian government websites were also attacked, with officials pinning the incident on a pro-Russian hacking group. Reuters reported that Poland’s parliament also saw cyberattacks on Thursday.
Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.