Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide today said that Russia is behind the August 2020 cyber-attack on the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget).
“On 24 August, the Storting announced a data breach in their e-mail systems,” Søreide said in a press release published earlier today after a briefing that also included Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen.
“Based on the information base the government possesses, it is our assessment that Russia is behind this activity.”
“This is a serious incident that affects our most important democratic institution,” Søreide added.
Norwegian Parliament internal email system breached
The attackers behind the cyber-attack on Norway’s Parliament successfully gained access to a limited number of email accounts of representatives and employees as Stortinget director Marianne Andreassen said at the time.
A statement published on the parliament’s site on September 1, 2020, said that they then stole data from each of the hacked email accounts.
Investigators haven’t yet disclosed what data was exfiltrated by the attackers from the compromised parliamentary email inboxes.
The Center Party confirmed that representatives and employees were impacted during the security breach.
The Norwegian Labor Party’s communications manager Jarle Roheim Håkonsen also confirmed that Labor Party employees and politicians have been affected in the attack.
Norway’s security and intelligence services are jointly handling the ongoing investigation coordinated by the Joint Cyber Coordination Center.
The Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM), a government cybersecurity agency responsible for coordinating the country’s national computer emergency response team (NorCERT), is also assisting with the investigation.
“All companies are recommended to follow the National Security Authority’s (NSM) recommendations on passwords and NSM’s basic principles for ICT security,” Søreide said.
“The data breach shows the importance of good security measures. Our increasing use of digital solutions means that the threats against us are also shifting to digital surfaces,” the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs concluded.
“The Government will continue its efforts to strengthen our digital security nationally, and strengthen cooperation internationally.”
Russia officially denied the accusations saying that there is no evidence according to news agency TASS.
“As usual, accusations are posed with no effort made to present any proof or to propose to discuss the incident at an expert level,” Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.