Tax agency targeted in ‘serious’ hacker attack

Personal details of thousands of Swedes, including those with protected identities, may have been accessed in a hacker attack targeting an IT-firm supplying services to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

Tax agency targeted in 'serious' hacker attack

“This is a terrible failure for the tax agency. People with protected identities are generally crime victims, abused and persecuted women, witnesses under threat, judges, police officers and journalists. Their lives could depend on not being detected,” said a source close to the investigation to daily Expressen.

According to the paper, county police and tax agency IT specialists are busy investigating just how many personal details might have leaked out during the suspected attack, which was detected last week.

The breach occurred at the IT-company Logica, which supplies several government agencies with information from the tax authority’s public register.

“This is a serious incident. We have never experienced something like this before,” said Anders Sandell, head of security at the company, to Expressen.

The tax agency has confirmed to Expressen that a number of personal identity numbers have been accessed in the breach, of which about a thousand were of people with protected identities.

However, the experts are still unsure whether any other information, such as address or other contact details, had been accessed at the same time.

“We are just saying that there is a theoretical possibility that other details have been copied,” said Anders Kylesten, head of security at the tax agency, to Expressen.

However, Kylesten still sees the breach as a “serious” one.

“We are doing everything we can to handle any potential consequences of this, but it is important not to frighten people who are already living in fear, if there is no reason,” he told the paper.

The Local/rm

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Suspected hackers show porn on Swedish station billboard

Commuters in a southeast Swedish city were briefly roused from their wintry routines by a public display of pornography at a bus stop outside the central rail station, officials said on Friday.

Suspected hackers show porn on Swedish station billboard
The screens at Kalmar station began suddenly showing porn images. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
For about 15 minutes on Thursday afternoon, during maintenance of an interactive display in the city of Kalmar, the usual adverts and videos were replaced by explicit images from a pornography website.
“We got information from a bus driver that someone had put pornographic imagery on one of our displays,” Karl-Johan Bodell, traffic director at Kalmar's regional public transport company KLT, told AFP.
The screen at Kalmar's central station in Sweden's southeast was quickly switched off — and will remain off until the cause is uncovered.
Local media reported that hackers were to blame and Bodell conceded that hacking was “the first thing that comes to mind”, but stressed that the cause had not yet been confirmed. 
KLT said the company supplying the display was conducting an investigation into what had caused the switch and how they might prevent future incidents.