Posts Tagged ‘Aftenposten’

Hackers Attack Norwegian Government – Again

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Technology on 26.11.10 at 15:35

This week the Norwegian government have been under a severe hacker attack. The National Security authorities have raised the threat level to 3 – the highest since the Stuxnet attack against Norwegian oil installations and other crucial systems in June this year.

“The police are aware of vulnerabilities in PDF readers that’s  been exploited for hacking.”

Espen Strai

Norwegian Security Authorities

The Norwegian governments building in Oslo have this week been hit by the most serious hacker attack so far this year, Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reports. This attack has been possible because the ministers and their staff still hasn’t updated their PDF software.

According to the norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, National Security Authorities discovered a flow of infected PDF files coming in through the governments email system, passing the firewall without any trouble.

The serious attack was kept a secret until the newspaper got hold of an internal note to the security personnel at the government building, warning against the hole in their security systems.

The National Security authorities (NSM) are still working on the case, trying to patch the holes and see if they can trace the perpetrators.

The attacks this week have led the NSM to raise the national threat level to level 3 – the highest since the Norwegian oil companies, utilities and other vital social structures were attacked by the dangerous Stuxnet worm earlier this summer.

NSM and the Norwegian government has kept this last attack a secret from the public. The reason is that they’re still working to resolve the problem,  and investigate who is behind, whether they are hackers, computer criminals or foreign intelligence, writes.

Hackers and computer criminals have discovered that the ministers and their staff have done a classic amateur mistake – they have failed to update the computer program Adobe Reader, which is used to read PDF files.

That makes the government buildings an easy and tempting target.

Using a computer virus, a so-called “Trojan,” which uses known vulnerabilities in Adobe, the hackers tried to install software that would give them full access to the computers.

Every day more than 5 million emails passes through the governments firewalls that’s supposed to protect highly sensitive data, government notes and classified information, which can cause both individuals and Norwegian security concerns very much damage.

The Office of the Auditor General of Norway has previously criticized prime minister Jens Stoltenberg and his government for the very poor data security and, among other things, using old software.

Ministry of Government Administration and Church Secretary Rigmor Aasrud says that the government has implemented several measures.

“We can not comment on the different security ratings by NSM. However, we’re continuously assessing the measures that are necessary. We expect people to be vigilant and careful with what you do,” says communications manager Frode Jacobsen Minister of Government Administration and Reform.

“The police are aware of vulnerabilities in PDF readers have been exploited for hacking. We follow the situation around this carefully,” says communications director Espen Strai at the National Police Computing and Material Service.

Norwegian police have now taken steps to update the governments applications so that most attacks are stopped, is told.

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Hackers Attact Norway’s Peace Prize Institute

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Philosophy, Technology on 14.11.10 at 18:52

About 300 private individuals, companies and organizations may be the victims of computer espionage after visiting the  webpages of the Nobel Committee and the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, on October 26 and 27. The visitors got spyware installed that gave outsiders full access to their computers. This week, the Nobel Institute reported the attack to the local police in Oslo.

“It can be anything from the fact that someone wants to give China a bad reputation to the Chinese themselves.”

Frank Trail

The espionage via the Nobel Institute have been going on for a much longer period, and is much more extensive than previously known. the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten writes on their website. According to the National Security Agency it took eleven days from the site was hacked to the highly sophisticated break-in was discovered.

The cyber attack was discovered by Telenor Security Operation Center (TSOC) on October 25 after several customers of the telecom company had reported hacker attacks.

TSOC then notified the National Security Agency and the Nobel Institute.

“It is hardly economic motives behind this attack, and the people behind it obviously has a lot of money. To carry out such an attack, they have to exploit a weakness in software only available on the illicit market, and used it against the Norwegian Nobel Institute. This is a very expensive methods and could be used for other types of economic cyber crimes  – instead of attacking Nobel Institute,” head of TSOC, Frank Trail. says.

All traces end up in a computer at a university in Taiwan that anyone has access to. This computer was the command center that controlled the attack, and a huge bulk of information was downloaded.

However, it’s practically impossible to find out who controlled the public computer in Taiwan.

“It can be anyone; from someone who wants to give China a bad reputation, to the Chinese themselves. We now have extra focus on this to see if the attacks repeats itself towards peace prize ceremony and the Nobel Prize Concert.”

Mission Impossible

“Between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, I estimate that we may have had up to 300 visitors using Firefox browser version  3.5 and 3.16,” librarian and IT Manager Bjørn H. Vang at the Nobel Institute says.

“We have no way to track who they are. What is most regrettable about the matter, is that people who have visited our website may have been harmed,” Vang adds.

Both the National Security Agency of Norway and the national criminal police are now investigating the data logs at the Nobel Institute.

“Internal Affairs has already made several technical studies. These are very complicated matters, especially if we end up in a server abroad. If it leads us to other countries, it will require a lot of resources and we’ll have to  ask whether or NCIS Økokrim (The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime) will take over the case. Even if we find out who is behind, so there are not many countries who are willing to disclose this information,” police chief, and head of the finance and corruption group, in Oslo, Rune Skjol, says.

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Consumer Confusion Index At Record High

In Financial Markets, Health and Environment, National Economic Politics, Views, commentaries and opinions on 26.02.10 at 21:58

The latest Norwegian CCI numbers was released Friday,  and shows a small increase of 0,5 points. Still, the country’s two main providers of electronic financial news manage to present two totally different views on the consumer confidence. According to, the Norwegians’ confidence about their own economy is strengthening, but the competitor says is weakening.

“Uncertainty about the development of both unemployment and interest rates probably contribute to the restrain in consumer confidence.”

Mari Paulsrud

In spite of the recent less-worse-the-expected numbers from the Norwegian labor market, the Norwegians continue to be skeptical about both the national and their personal economic future. They’re even planning on saving more money in the next 12 month. Now, that’s really confusing to the nations establishment of economists.

Norway is a funny little country.

It sees itself as one of the most democratic states in the world, although the country has been ruled by the same socialistic political party for more than 70 years.

(Except for a few short guest appearances by the conservatives).

Almost ethical and morally flawless, an environmental frontier, (and the only people with balls big enough to stand up to Hitler in WWII).

Yeah, well, I won’t go down that road. Not today.

I will only point out another Norwegian characteristic; the ability to justify every opinion with the exact same argument.

Today’s amusing example is illustrated by the headlines of Norway’s two main financial news sites, and E24.

While one is reporting that the Norwegian consumer confidence is strengthening, the other is reporting that it’s weakening.

They both use the exact same quotes by macro economist Mari Paulsrud at the research institute, Opinion AS, to argue their case.

Pretty Flat

But – first – let’s look at the actual number.

Norway’s CCI came in at 8,7 points in February, up 0,5 percentage points from January, and up from 0,0 points a year ago.

And the economist Mari Paulsrud makes it pretty much clear in her statement.

“Consumer confidence rose slightly this month, but continues to remain relatively flat, as it has done several months in a row. This reflects some uncertainty among consumers and there are still some hesitation when it comes to optimism.”

“Uncertainty about the development of both unemployment and interest rates probably contribute to the restrain in consumer confidence.”

Paulsrud also emphasize the fact that the actual confidence is declining, but an increase in peoples willingness to save money makes the sum of all the sub indexes positive.

Half Empty – Half Full

Yet, it results in these two headlines: (Dagens Næringsliv): (VG, Aftenposten):

And actually they’re both kinda telling the truth.

If you see the CCI numbers over a years period of time, the confidence is getting better.

But if you look isolated at the last few months, the rise in optimism is curbing.

Consumer Confusion Index

The most confused people here is probably not the Norwegian consumers, but the members of the mainstream media and the national establishment of economists.

The latest development in the labor market has been far less worse than expected a year ago. Low rates, combined with practically no inflation and rising wages has given most Norwegians more spending power. And the housing market is back on a fast track to heaven.

So, why aren’t the “consumers” more optimistic? Taking up more loans and running down the shops? (as they’re supposed to, according to theories).

Well, here’s the real news: THEY ARE NOT THAT STUPID !

(By the way; here’s economist Mari Paulsrud’s Blog Post on the latest CCI numbers).

Related by the Econotwist:

Evaluation Of Norwegian Monetary Policy

Norway’s GDP Fall For First Time In 20 Years

End Of The European Upswing?

Final Words Of A Central Banker

How To Make A Rat Look Like A Puppy

Norway: Key Policy Rate Remains Unchanged

Norway Economic Update – “Partly Grim”

Fear Of Norwegian Housing Market Collapse

Fighting The Reality

Norway’s Prime Minister Fears Social Unrest

Central Bank of Norway raise interest rate again

Roubini: “The Worst Is Yet To Come”

Robert Schiller: – Recovery is just luck

“The Norwegian Syndrome”

Not So Rosy After All

Crisis In A New Light

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