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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Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

Trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped and between Stockholm and Malmö severely disrupted due to a fire and several electrical faults.

Trains stopped between Stockholm and Gothenburg

“We have problems with all rail traffic south of Norrland,” Peter Jonsson, from the Swedish Transport Administration, told the country’s TT newswire. “The heat has of course had an impact, particularly when it concerns the fire, but we’re not otherwise speculating on the cause.” 

According to the agency, the issues are the result of four separate incidents, a fire south of Hallsberg, an overhead power contact line, which has snapped, and two electrical faults. 

Peter Krameus, a spokesperson for Sweden’s state-owned rail company SJ, said that all trains were being sent back to the stations from which they most recently departed until the faults could be corrected. 

While trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg have been stopped completely, trains between Stockholm and Malmö have been affected by two problems with overhead lines. Trains between Mjölby and Nässjö and Eslöv and Stehag are travelling onto on one of the two lines now. 

“That doesn’t mean that all traffic has stopped, but it’s going to mean cancelled trains and delayed departures,” Jonsson said. 

So far, 50 of SJ’s train departures have been cancelled as a result of the faults.