Norway government ministries hit by cyber attack

Twelve Norwegian government ministries have been hit by a cyber attack, the Norwegian government said on Monday, the latest attack to hit the public sector of Europe's largest gas supplier and NATO's northernmost member.

By Reuters - July 24, 2023
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OSLO (Reuters) -Twelve Norwegian government ministries have been hit by a cyber attack, the Norwegian government said on Monday, the latest attack to hit the public sector of Europe’s largest gas supplier and NATO’s northernmost member.

“We identified a weakness in the platform of one of our suppliers. That weakness has now been shut,” Erik Hope, head of the government agency in charge of providing services to ministries, told a news conference.

The attack was identified due to “unusual” traffic on the supplier’s platform, Hope said, declining to provide specifics. It was uncovered on July 12 and was being investigated by police.

“It is too early to say who is back this and what is the extent of the impact (of the attack),” he said.

Norway is Europe’s largest gas supplier after a drop in Russian gas flows and Western Europe’s largest oil exporter.

The PM’s office as well as the foreign, defence, justice ministries were not affected because they use a different IT platform, said Hope.

Norway’s state sector has been hit by cyber attacks previously, including in June 2022, when a so-called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack took place, blamed on a “criminal pro-Russian group”.

NATO-member Norway shares a border with Russia in the Arctic and supports Ukraine with weapons, humanitarian aid and money.

The number of cyber attacks tripled between 2019 and 2021, the country’s cyber security agency said in its latest risk assessment report in February, with the number of serious incidents in 2022 at the same level as in 2021.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Louise Rasmussen and Terje Solsvik)