• Sweden's news in English

Swedish sites targeted in new internet attack

The Local · 1 Oct 2012, 16:42

Published: 01 Oct 2012 16:42 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The attacks, which affected the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten), several large banks and media outlets, come roughly a month after a similar attack hit Sweden.

"We learned our lesson from the last time around. Then we were down for two hours, now we were back after only 20 minutes," Niklas Englund, head of Swedish Armed Forces digital media, told The Local.

"We noticed that we were generating more traffic than normal and that our firewall had stopped working."

Anders Ahlqvist, IT expert at the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) told the TT news agency that Swedish websites appear to have become increasingly popular targets of such Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks.

During a DDOS attack, a website is bombarded with communication requests so that the servers become overloaded and the site crashes.

“It does seem as if Swedish sites have been targeted on a large scale recently,” he said.

The attack or attacks, which began on Monday morning, also targeted Swedish banks, news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT), as well as The Local's pan-European news network.

The websites of all organizations affected by the attack were left inaccessible for several hours as servers were overloaded with access requests.

Swedish national rail operator SJ also had trouble with its online booking system between 10.30am and 11.50am on Monday, but a spokesperson told The Local they didn't think the problem was due to an attack.

According to experts, the logs from the TT servers indicated the agency was hit by a so called botnet attack, where a large number of hijacked computers are connected in a targeted attack.

Swedish banks Swedbank and SEB as well as the internet realtor Nordnet, also experienced the effects of the attack.

“They managed to keep us down for a while but we seem to be up again now,” said Swedbank spokesperson Anna Sundblad to newspaper Aftonbladet.

Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap – MSB) was also targeted in Monday's attack, as was the Swedish military, which continues to try to improve its defences against cyber attacks.

"We keep developing our systems and we get better and better," said Englund.

The Armed Forces and The Local were also both affected by an attack which took place about a month ago and was directed at several Swedish sites.

The attack was reported to the police by the Armed Forces, which suspected it may have been carried out by supporters of WikiLeaks-founder Julian Assange.

“Attacks of this kind have always been carried out against government agencies, organizations and companies. There doesn’t seem to be a plan behind it. If they are firing against the police or the prosecution authority it is a bit more understandable, but attacking the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet - Brå) and the Swedish Courts is more inexplicable,” said Ahlqvist.

Story continues below…

When media companies are being targeted it is often presumed that it is because of something that they have published, but according to Ahlqvist this is not necessarily the case.

“If you look at the spread of the attacks it really doesn’t follow a rational pattern. They will test where it might work – who has good protection and who will find it difficult to get back up again,” Ahlqvist said.

It is almost impossible to find out who is in control of these botnets if they don’t choose to claim the responsibility.

“These are technically gifted people. And it spans the whole spectrum from individuals, to groups to states,” Ahlqvist told TT.

TT/Rebecca Martin

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

20:59 October 1, 2012 by procrustes
Um, how do you spell Assange?
22:27 October 1, 2012 by millionmileman
I don't know if it was Julian but they just got into the White House as well!

01:56 October 2, 2012 by sgt_doom
Naaaah, that White House thingy was the Chinese (either on their own or hired by the Iranians --- who have been consistently slammed by the Obama administration in their waging economic war and cyber war against Iran).

Or the Chinese want more jobs offshored to that country, along with America's technology and investment which American-based multinationals have been offshoring for so very long.

As for Sweden: Registry-V is now complete and OpSeverigeOff awaits.

04:19 October 2, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
That is what you get when people believe the entire world is against Julian, when in fact it is just reality. It must be watching all those poorly written TV dramas they watch that give an oversimplified world view.
Today's headlines
Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available