“The problem is that the internet is an international phenomenon and legislation is national. It’s not limited to Sweden though, it is Europe. And because most big internet providers are US based, we all have the same troubles dealing with them,” Anders Ahlqvist, IT-crimes specialist of the national police, told The Local.
As The Local reported on Saturday, Swedish group Cyberforce, part of the Swedish branch of “hacktivist” collective Anonymous, quickly claimed responsibility for a cyber attack on the websites of the Swedish government on Saturday as part of protests against anti-piracy regulations.
“According to intelligence material, the hackers’ goal was to reach the authorities through such mediums as Twitter conversations, (FRA and the national police) but none of the authorities knew of the attacks,” Ahlqvist told Sveriges Radio (SR).
The hackers succeeded in shutting down the government through a so called ‘overload attack’ where someone sends so much information that the system collapses. Now a police investigation is underway, however the work will not be quick.
“If we want information, we have to provide a subpoena from the US court, and a formal request through Sweden’s department of justice. It is extremely time-consuming, and very many of the cases are not possible to investigate,” Ahlqvist said.
“Conversely, the US faces the same problems when dealing with European courts.”
This is not the first time that the government and authorities have been attacked online, other examples in Sweden including the Pirate Bay court case, and the Julian assange rape case.
The fact that the government site went down says something about the level of safety, according to Ahlqvist.
“It unfortunately showed that the overload attacks actually work, time after time. The routines need to be looked into so that they work better,” he told SR.
Ahlqvist claims the attacks do nothing to tarnish Swedish reputation, rather, that it is a worldwide legislative problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
“We need more international agreements for a smoother system otherwise the bad guys will just keep on winning,” Ahlqvist told The Local.