Teens admit to ‘hacker attack’ on Swedish rail

A group of 16-year-olds claimed responsibility for a series of hacking attacks this week, which among other things closed down train ticketing services across the country.

Teens admit to 'hacker attack' on Swedish rail

The teens admitted to the attacks via a website on Friday, according to Sweden’s TV4 news. The hacks, believed to be in the form of DDOS attacks, shuttered the websites of train operators SJ, as well as those of south Swedish public transit operator Skånetrafiken, Region Skåne, and Sweden’s alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget.

A DDOS attack entails a website being bombarded with communication requests so that the servers become overloaded and the site crashes.

Lars Förstell, a spokesman at the Malmö police, chose not to comment on whether the teenagers’ claims were credible.

“Right now we’re putting a lot of resources into this so we can get to the bottom of it quickly,” he told TV4.

“It’s serious criminal activity to go after societal functions such as Region Skåne, so we are working intensively on this,” he added.

Region Skåne is self-governing authority of Skåne, the southernmost county of Sweden, and is responsible for managing the region’s public health system.

The attacks also took down government-owned rail operator SJ on Wednesday and through Thursday, making it impossible for passengers to purchase train tickets online or at ticket machines at stations around the country.

Lars-Göran Emanuelson, an expert at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB), said on Thursday that such attacks are “not uncommon” and that the goals of the attackers can vary.

“I could only speculate about the reason behind this specific attack,” he told the TT news agency after SJ was hit. “But it’s usually based on some kind of displeasure.”

TT/The Local/og

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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.