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Official Swedish websites targeted in cyber attack

Published: 03 Sep 2012 16:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Sep 2012 16:19 GMT+02:00

A number of official websites in Sweden were rendered inaccessible on Monday, in what some have claimed to be a cyber-attack by supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Websites around the country went offline after 10am, including the Courts Administration, the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Institute. The Local was also affected for a number of hours.

Anna Dahlén, a spokeswoman at the Government Offices confirmed that they had had problems but for security reasons couldn’t make any further comment.

“The site hasn't been down all day but it has been down sporadically," she told The Local on Monday afternoon.

Another victim of the attacks was the Swedish Armed Forces.

“We started having problems sometime after lunch - the site was working fine before that,” confirmed Therese Fagerstedt of the Swedish Armed Forces Communications and Public Affairs department to The Local.

According to Fagerstedt, the armed forces’ IT staff is working on the problem and suspect a DDOS attack on their site.

“Many different agencies have had trouble today, the Swedish Courts Administration and even Interpol as far as I know,” said Fagerstedt.

Fagerstedt told The Local that it is suspected that the attack was carried out by a Free Assange group, claiming responsibility via Twitter.

“We haven’t had it confirmed or anything but that is what they are saying,” she said.

Meanwhile, Per Gårdehall, web master at Sweden.se, explained that their site had also been targeted.

"We've been down since around 10am. We've talked to our host; they're experiencing problems from a DDOS attack,” he told The Local.

“I thought it was random at first until I noticed other Swedish sites going down. I've got no idea who is behind this or why they're doing it."

The CEO of Netnod, Kurtis Lindquist, explained more about these kind of attacks, after having helped fend off a massive denial of service attack against Estonia in 2007.

"DDOS attacks aren't uncommon, but they're not exactly common. And one can only speculate as to who or what is behind them,” he told The Local.

"In a hacktivist attack, someone is usually trying to make a statement or prevent someone from making a statement. These attacks can be extremely hard to defend against; they can have enormous resources behind them.”

When asked whether Assange supporters could be behind the attack, Lindquist said it wasn't out of the question.

"It's a high profile case, but it's impossible to say for sure until they claim responsibility. Of course, even then, it has happened that groups have claimed responsibility for others' attacks just to ride the wave.”

A hacktivist group supporting Assange and going by the name of “Anonymous” later claimed responsibility for the attack via their Twitter account. However this information is yet to be officially confirmed.

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Your comments about this article

17:25 September 3, 2012 by matona1
free assange and wash sweden away from american nonsence
17:43 September 3, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
There is no surprise on the attack. They are only misguided individuals who believe their power existence at the end of a keyboard. The reality is their keyboard will not protect them in a court room.
18:15 September 3, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
.....but certainly in the case of Assange (whose supporters MAY be behind the attacks) he doesn't look as if he's going to see a courtroom any time soon
18:28 September 3, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Sweden has not yet indicated that it will extradite JA to the USA.

So why the pre-emtive 'retaliation' attack.

Isn't a pre-emtpive attack supposed to be precisely the sort of thing that Wikileaks is supposed to be against?
18:48 September 3, 2012 by Gjeebes
This is great! Maybe it will help Sweden decide if it will formally state whether it will or will not extradite him to the Yankie head hunters. So far they have just waffled on the topic, citing Sweden's upstanding reputation blah blah and other weasel words. Or maybe Washington just hasn't yet decided what it will tell Sweden to do and say, yet. These women apparently were bragging publically on Twitter that they had sacked up with the mighty JA. Problems only began when they realised they weren't the only sex vixens he'd bedded down with on his visit to this quaint "country". Charges were dropped, then after a time, some overzealous self-righteous Swede with power to do so, decided to "re-open" the case. Quite amusing really, I hope it costs Sweden a lot of money (they seem to like to spend in truely stupid ways, so I'm sure some tax kronor are ready and waiting for this little episode).
19:36 September 3, 2012 by CanuckDriver
Time to shut down Assange and all his creeps permanently.
20:52 September 3, 2012 by d351n73rc3p70r
We are ANONYMOUS

We are LEGION

We do NOT Forgive

We do NOT Forget

Sweden - Expect Us

|@d351n73rc3p70r|@Str0nGKK|@TheWikiBoatBr w/crew|r00tw0rm crew|#FreeSec crew|#NullCrew|#lulzsec reborn|Anonymous|

#TangoDown s for Julian by #OpFreeAssange - The AnonHive
20:53 September 3, 2012 by Brianito
It's only "Speculation" ....... one should never ASSUME because it makes an ASS out of U and ME !
21:34 September 3, 2012 by Freemanzz
American world police working for the overthrow of every thing non-American.Oil wars,Copy right wars info wars.....Wars is common phrase with America,Just look at there T.V guide...Storage wars,Whale wars..Quite a few of the USA reality shows have the word war some where in the description or show title....Brain washing is the new media catch phrase...And War is the result of the lies and mind control.Theater of the mind is loud and proud...Land of the Fee,Home of the Slave.
21:42 September 3, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

Eye for an eye.or the price for being a lacay from the US with Hillary Clinton directing the show.

This is how Anonymous attacks.

The group uses a relatively new form of DDoS attack called Web LOIC (Low Orbit Web Cannon). Web LOIC leverages many end-user computers using pure browser technology (JavaScript) to launch the attack. Traditional DDoS attacks use dedicated bots to launch millions of requests to a website, which can be identified and blocked. Web LOIC instead uses modern web technology to allow anyone with a computer to open a browser, navigate to a web page that Anonymous built, and start an attack. For each attack request, the attack technology generates a random and legitimate user agent string, and a legitimate referer string(See below for an example). Browser-based attacks like this are much harder to identify and defend against.

Anonymous says:

We are ANONYMOUS

We are LEGION

We do NOT Forgive

We do NOT Forget

Sweden - Expect Us

themoron says: Sweden, expect Anonymous
03:08 September 4, 2012 by Eric1
It's time hackers start attacking WikiLeaks and other sites that put lives in danger.
05:47 September 4, 2012 by timbenton51
If somebody supports Assange or Wilileaks, this sort of attack is counterproductive.

A better approach is contacting MPs or writing to magazines and newspapers to express concern. A campus rally in Sweden would be a good idea.

If its Wilileaks supporters who are behind the DOS, I fear they are totally frustrated teenagers who don't understand what is happening and are trying to express by tinkering on the internet. Waste of time. Focus on the real threat: increasing intrusions of governments into daily lives under the pretext of national security. This will ultimately lead to disaster.

Freedom is the only protection from totalitarianism.
06:51 September 4, 2012 by LA2
If anybody wanted to interrupt the Swedish legal system, they picked the wrong week. Everybody is mesmerized reading the op-ed pieces by Göran Lambertz right now, so very few noticed there was a DDOS going on. If it was important, please call back later.
12:09 September 4, 2012 by Opinionfool
@Eric1 The only lives actually put in danger by WikiLeaks publication have been those of despotic arab leaders. Amnesty International credits the release of the US Embassy Cables by WikiLeaks as being the catalyst to the recent "Arab Spring" see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/13/amnesty-international-wikileaks-arab-spring That some of the remaining despotic leaders are using violence against their critics is not attributable to WikiLeaks but solely to those leaders themselves.
19:43 September 4, 2012 by sgt_doom
Well, at least they didn't go to the country registry site (iis.se) and hack into it and remove the uppermost tld, .se, to remove Sweden completely from the Web.

But perhaps, some day in the near future . . . . .
18:10 September 7, 2012 by tiger-alligator
Это белорусские спецслужбы Вас атаковали за медведя.

Denna vitryska säkerhetstjänsten för en björn attackera dig.
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