Posted on December 29, 2020 at 2:43 PM
The Finnish Parliament has confirmed a cyber attack that compromised the email accounts of multiple members of parliaments (MPs).
Earlier this year, hackers launched a similar attack on Norway’s parliament and their authorities linked the attack to the Russian military security service.
The parliament also announced that an investigation into the incident is currently going on. Although the attack was carried out weeks ago, the confirmation was only made public recently after an investigation by the police has begun.
However, it’s not clear who may be behind the attack. According to parliament president Anu Vehviläinen, the attack is “a serious threat to our democracy and Finnish society”.
She added that the Finnish government needs to corporate with international security agencies while taking national measures to strengthen cybersecurity.
She however said the Finish parliament will not disclose any vital information about the hack until the investigation is complete.
The Finnish police chief inspector said the hacking incident is not a coincidence, adding that the case is an “exceptional one.
He also couldn’t say how many email accounts were affected as a result of the hack.
The cyberattack was carried out in the fall of 2020 at the same time the Russian hackers had access to the email accounts of some Norwegian employees and parliamentary representatives.
KRP Commissioner Tero Muurman also confirmed that the attack is part of state-sponsored cyber espionage, particularly from Russia. However, he also stated that the attack didn’t result in any damage to the parliament’s infrastructure.
He added that the hackers succeeded in obtaining information from the hacking activities, either to harm Finland or for the benefit of a foreign state.
He said although the hack has affected some persons, the actual number of people affected is kept a secret because revealing it may hinder investigation on the matter.
He added that the hacking attack is unfortunate to the victims and the police are taking it very seriously due to the quality of targets affected. According to Tero, the hacking attempt could lead to devastating consequences if the investigation does not yield any positive result.
Parliament speaker added that the country cannot accept any form of hostile cyber activity whether carried out by private or a government-sponsored group.
A similar attack on the Norwegian parliament
In a similar cyberattack that took place in Norway not too long ago, the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSA) was briefed by the parliament about the burglary of confidential information.
The opposition’s party spokesperson stated that the cyber attack also affected few members of the Labor party. Like the attack on the Finnish parliament, the Norwegian parliament decided to keep details of the attack hidden from the public to prevent infringing investigation.
The Norwegian parliament hack announced login irregularities within the past week when the attack was initiated.
Since the Norwegian parliament attack took place, the NSA has been working with the parliament to carry out a thorough investigation and prevent a repetition of a similar incident in the future.
The attacks on bothering the Finnish parliament and the Norwegian parliament have been linked to the same state-backed hackers. The Russian hackers have been terrorizing government systems and servers. This year alone, the same hackers have been linked to dozens of attacks, and it seems the group is still very busy looking for system vulnerabilities to compromise.
Protecting against cyber attacks
Security agencies have always been upfront with an advisory to institutions looking to protect their systems against cyber attacks. They warn that it’s important to provide a vulnerability assessment and penetration testing program to protect against hacking activities and breaches.
They also advised that organizations need to perform a comprehensive reconnaissance about the application or server, its architecture, features, in consulting with the firm’s development team
The organization’s IoT devices, Cloud, servers, applications, and networks need to be regularly checked for any inconsistencies.
Security awareness and training programs are also necessary as additional measures to keep the servers and systems safe from compromise.