Sweden Says its critical infrastructure was under Attack by Russian Hackers

Sweden says its cyberspace was under sophisticated cyber attack from Russia

Sweden sent a message to NATO and released alert all over claiming that the country was under threat of a serious cyber-attack in November 2015. According to reports, the Swedish government claimed of receiving two separate warnings and passed them to various NATO allies including Denmark and Norway.

As per the Swedish claims, the cyber-attack was propelled by the APT group, which refers to Advanced Persistent Threat. The same group was linked to the GRU, a Russian military intelligence group.

On November 4th, 2015, the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration’s computers started showing some problems, due to which air traffic controllers were able to view the aircraft on their screens and it affected the traffic to and from the Arlanda, Landvetter and Bromma airports.

A senior NATO source stated that:

“The message was passed on to NATO either by Sweden’s National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets radioanstalt, FRA) or the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service (Militära underrättelse- och säkerhetstjänsten, MUST).”

When contacted, the FRA, MUST, and NATO decline to comment on the matter categorically. According to Philip Simon, the press officer for Swedish Armed Forces: “we cooperate with a number of countries and organizations, but we don’t comment in the news media about the information we share,” according to Aldrimer.

While FRA’s spokesperson Fredrik Wallin stated that it was impossible for him to comment on “this type of information.”

Matthias Eichenlaub, spokesman of NATO stated that: “We have checked with our experts and we cannot substantiate the information in your query.”

Let’s now analyze what kinds of threats have been received by the Swedish authorities:

In the first notification sent to NATO, it was claimed that Vattenfall, the state-owned power company, was one of the probable targets of cyber-attack. It is the largest energy producers in the European region and owns and operates various nuclear power plants in Germany and Sweden.

Swedish authorities claimed that they did receive warnings of an impending solar storm at the time when the air traffic control collapse occurred.

LFV, Sweden’s civil aviation administration, said its investigation into the November problems remains open. It declined to respond to the theory that a cyber attack might have been behind problems with the country’s air traffic control system last year.

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