While Norway’s security service (PST) is still carrying on with their investigation of the IT attack, the country’s authorities have blamed the reported March attack on China, calling it an attack on Norwegian democracy.
Norway has accused China of a hack attack against Storting, the Norwegian parliament, that reportedly took place in March.
On 10 March, the Storting announced data breaches in its e-mail systems. The hack was performed through the exploitation of security holes in the Microsoft Exchange e-mail server.
“It is a serious attack that affected our most important democratic institution,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said, as quoted by national broadcaster NRK. “Several of our allies, the EU and Microsoft have also confirmed this. The Chinese authorities must prevent such attacks from taking place, so that similar incidents do not happen again,” Søreide added.
“All cyber operations leave different forms of traces, and then it is, among other things, our security services that make assessments of that and compile that information. And on the basis of this information, the government has made an assessment that the attack originated from China,” Søreide said.
Ine Eriksen Søreide said that her ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador to discuss the attack directly.
“That such malicious cyberactivity is allowed to take place is not in line with the norms for responsible state behaviour in the digital space that all UN member states have agreed upon. We have today summoned the Chinese ambassador and taken up the matter directly,” the foreign minister said.
Norway’s security service (PST) said their investigation of the IT attack was still ongoing. However, Storting President Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen called the attack on the Storting an attack on Norwegian democracy.
“The attack was unacceptable and very serious, and it must be expected that the Chinese authorities do what they can to prevent such IT attacks from happening,” Trøen said, calling for more international cooperation in order maintain a “well-functioning, open and stable democracy”.
Norway is not the only country to have accused China of computer attacks. Norway’s finger-wagging at China was supported by the EU, the UK, the US and NATO. The White House voiced its concern about China’s “irresponsible and destabilising behaviour in cyberspace”, whereas Director of Operations at the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre Paul Chichester” called it “another example of a malicious attack” and “completely unacceptable”.
In a statement to NRK, the Chinese embassy said there was reason to suspect political manipulation.
“We hope Norway can provide facts and evidence to find out the truth,” the embassy said.
Furthermore, it called China a defender of cyber security that has worked against this type of behaviour, opposing cyberattacks and cybertheft in all forms.
Oslo [Norway], July 20 (ANI): The Norwegian government on Monday formally attributed a breach of email accounts associated with the Norwegian parliament to Chinese hackers involved in the exploitation of vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Exchange Server.
The Norwegian parliament in March said that email systems had been breached as part of the Microsoft Exchange Server incident.
“This was a very serious incident affecting our most important democratic institution,” Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement. “Following a detailed intelligence assessment, it is our view that the vulnerabilities have been exploited by actors operating out of China.”Soreide confirmed that the Storting was a victim of this exploitation and that the Chinese Embassy had been contacted in order to “raise the issue directly.”The revelations come on the day the US and Western allies formally blamed China for a massive hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software and asserted that criminal hackers associated with the Chinese government have carried out ransomware and other illicit cyber operations.
The minister pointed to the attribution to China by allied nations as part of pushing back against the attack.
“We expect China to take this issue seriously, and to ensure that such incidents are not repeated,” Soreide stressed. “Allowing such malicious cyber activities to take place is in contradiction of the norms of responsible state behaviour endorsed by all UN Member States.”The compromise as part of the Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities was not the first hacking incident to hit the Norwegian government in the past year.
The Storting announced in September that it had been hit by an “IT attack,” and that a small number of members of parliament and staff members, with data from these accounts successfully downloaded by the attackers. (ANI)
STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — On the 10th anniversary of Norway’s worst peacetime slaughter, survivors of Anders Behring Breivik’s assault worry that the racism which nurtured the anti-Islamic mass murderer is re-emerging in a nation known for its progressive politics.
Most of Breivik’s 77 victims on July 22, 2011, were teen members of the Labor Party — idealists enjoying their annual camping trip on the tranquil, wooded island of Utoya, in a lake northwest of Oslo, the capital. Today many survivors are battling to keep their vision for their country alive.
“I thought that Norway would positively change forever after the attacks. Ten years later, that hasn’t happened. And in many ways, the hate we see online and the threats against people in the Labor movement have increased,” said Aasmund Aukrust, then-deputy leader of the Labor Youth Wing who helped organize the camp.
Today he’s a national lawmaker campaigning for a nationwide inquiry into the right-wing ideology that inspired the killer.
Aukrust ran from the bullets flying through the forest then lay hidden for three terrifying hours while he saw friends murdered nearby. A vocal proponent of properly reckoning with the racism and xenophobia in Norway, Aukrust has been the target of online abuse, including receiving the message that “we wish Breivik had done his job.”
The victims of the Utoya massacre came from towns and villages throughout Norway, turning a personal tragedy into a collective trauma for many of the country’s 5.3 million inhabitants. Survivors were joined by a shaken population who were determined to show that Norway would become more — not less — tolerant and reject the worldview that motivated the killer.
A decade later, some survivors believe that collective determination is waning.
“What was very positive after the terror attacks was that people saw this as an attack on the whole of Norway. It was a way of showing solidarity,” said Aukrust. “But that has disappeared. It was an attack on a multicultural society. And though it was the act of one person, we know that his views are shared by more people today than they were 10 years ago.”
Breivik struck at Labor Party institutions he believed were aiding what he called the “Islamization” of Norway. Dressed as a policeman, he landed on Utoya, shooting dead 69 members of the youth wing and injuring scores more. He had earlier murdered eight people in a bomb attack at government buildings in Oslo.
“It wasn’t random that it was our summer camp that was attacked. The hatred was against us because of our values of openness and inclusiveness,” said Sindre Lysoe, a survivor from Utoya who is now the general secretary of the Labor Party’s Youth Wing.
“After Utoya, it was too hard for many people to go back to politics. For me and for society, it was very important to raise up again and fight back through more of the good work we knew we could do,” he said. “Before 22 July, politics was important, afterwards it became about life and death.”
After hearing about the Oslo bombing on the “darkest day of all of our lives,” he remembers his friends telling each other they were in the safest place on earth. Within minutes, the gunfire and screaming began on the island. Today Lysoe spends a lot of his time warning young people about the dangers of right-wing extremism.
In the years following the attack, Norway’s security police, the PST, continued to rank Islamists as more likely to carry out domestic terrorism than right-wing extremists.
But after the New Zealand mosque attacks in 2019 killed 51 people, and a copycat attempt by Norwegian shooter Philip Manshaus just outside Oslo later that year in which the killer’s sister died, Norway’s security police changed its annual assessments. It now ranks the two forms of extremism at the same danger level.
“As we progressed into 2013 and 2014, European migration and IS became the prisms that we saw terror through. Norway went back to a narrative of extremism being largely foreign,” said Bjoern Ihler, who escaped the bullets by swimming in frigid waters around the island to safety.
“There is a failure in self-reflection. We are missing the fact that Anders Breivik and Manshaus were Norwegian, but also so were a lot of the extremists throughout the last decade that should have been caught by our social system,” he said.
Since the July 22 attacks, Ihler has become an expert in countering radicalization, founding the Khalifa-Ihler Institute for Peace Building and Counter Extremism, advising European Union and chairing a panel at the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.
Planning the attack from his mother’s home in Oslo, Breivik tapped into an online ecosystem that demonized Islam and cast in doubt Europe’s Christian future. Ihler, who has spoken with scores of reformed extremists, says these internet echo chambers need to be exposed to different voices.
“Regardless of ideology, the reasons they went into radical environments are all somewhat similar. It’s about finding identity and a space where you find belonging. Whether it is Islamists or far-right extremists, the fundamental problem they have is living in environments with diversity,” he said. “The tricky part is helping them build comfort with that diversity.”
Ihler still believes in the power of traditional Norwegian values such as democracy and rehabilitation in solving societal problems.
Breivik struck at all of these, testing not only the country’s commitment to tolerance and inclusiveness but also to nonviolence and merciful justice. Yet he still benefits from a justice system that favors rehabilitation over vengeance.
While his sentence can be extended if he is still considered dangerous, Breivik is serving his 21 years in a three-room cell with access to a gym and computer games, luxuries that would be unthinkable even for minor criminals in other countries.
“It is right that he is treated humanely,” said Ihler. “We don’t want to go down the same route of violence. We need to keep on showing people that there are better ways of dealing with the issues we have.”
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Brexit: Sandell hits out at ‘disgraceful’ lack of Norway deal
And Germany’s fishing industry has branded Norway “self-serving” – while appealing to Brussels to intervene, with one expert saying: “You cannot accept this.” The UK’s departure has prompted Oslo to unilaterally cut the EU’s fishing quota for cod and is aiming to do likewise with mackerel in a move which Norway’s Fiskeribladet website estimates could be worth an additional £100million.
Concerns over the knock-on effect their approach will have were outlined in a statement issued by the German Fisheries Association yesterday.
This warned: “Because the fish stock to be distributed is not growing, someone has to foot the bill for the self-serving behaviour of the Norwegians.
“It cannot be that the EU will accept that.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (Image: GETTY)
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)
The statement warned: “Since the total catches do not increase in the context of sustainable management, this would result in a permanent reduction in the EU’s fishing opportunities.”
The GFA fears an escalation by the end of August at the latest “because the EU fishermen from Germany, Spain, Portugal, France and Poland would by then have exhausted the quota that Norway still wants to grant them”, the GFA explained.
It added: “If the EU does not defend the legitimate rights of EU citizens in this situation, there is a risk of permanent losses of fishing rights with a total value of several hundred million euros per year.”
There is even a risk of ships from all five EU countries mentioned above being barred from Norway waters.
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Norway boats fish for cod in the Arctic (Image: GETTY)
Speaking last year, the country’s Fisheries Minister, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, said: “If we do not get a deal by January 1, we will not open Norway’s economic fishing zones to vessels from the EU and Britain.
“Neither can we expect Norwegian vessels to get access to their (the EU’s and Britain’s) zones before a deal is in place.”
Such a ban has not yet transpired – but remains a possibility.
Germany’s fishing industry employs 40,000 people and lands more than over 1.2 million metric tons of fish annually.
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Kirkella, moored up in Hull (Image: UK Fisheries)
Erna Solberg, Norway’s PM (Image: GETTY)
Chancellor Angela Merkel is a member of the Bundestag for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, one of the German regions most heavily reliant on fishing.
The failure to strike a post-Brexit fishing deal with Norway – which has never been a member of the EU – also has serious implications for the UK fishing industry.
Kirkella, a distant water trawler belonging to Hull-based UK Fisheries, is currently tied up in port because it is not currently permitted to operate in Norwegian waters.
Speaking in April, CEO Jane Sandell said: “This is a very black day for Britain.
European fisheries mapped (Image: Express)
“George Eustice owes our crews and the Humberside region an explanation as to why Defra was unable even to maintain the rights we have had to fish in Norwegian waters for decades, never mind land the boasts of a ‘Brexit Bonus’, which has turned to disaster.
“In consequence, there will be no British-caught Arctic cod sold through chippies for our national dish – it will all be imported from the Norwegians, who will continue to sell their fish products to the UK tariff-free while we are excluded from these waters.
“Quite simply, this is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.
“The UK wanted to be an independent coastal state, but the only beneficiaries of Brexit will turn out to be a handful of Scottish pelagic fishing barons.
Fishing boats in Northern Germany (Image: GETTY)
“Everyone else – including much of the UK domestic fleet and the people who work in it, will lose out.”
Jeremy Percy, chairman of the New Under Tens Fisherman’s Association (NUFTA), told Express.co.uk at the time: “‘Dog’s breakfast’ sums it up really.
“The whole EU Exit with regard to fisheries has been a complete debacle from beginning to end.
“Our negotiators have yet to secure a long term deal with the EU on quotas or with Norway.”
The Norwegian government has developed a new national strategy to prevent and counter terrorism.
“This year, it will be ten years since the terror attacks hit us on July 22. The government has placed great emphasis on the work with emergency preparedness over the years, and we have followed up on all of the July 22 Commission’s recommendations,” Minister of Justice and Emergency Preparedness Monica Mæland (H) noted in a press release.
The July 22 Commission concluded, among other things, that the perpetrator of the attacks could have been stopped earlier.
“Even though we have followed up the July 22 Commission’s recommendations, the work of preventing and dealing with terrorism can never stop.
“We must continue to assess new needs and new measures to follow the ongoing developments. The government has therefore developed a new national counter-terrorism strategy,” Mæland stated.
The strategy points in particular to four priority measures:
Provide the PST and the Intelligence Service with a legislative framework that closes the gaps that have arisen due to technology development.
Provide more information to actors considered potential terrorist targets.
Strengthen local cooperation against terrorist incidents and strengthen reintegration into society among radicals or already convicted persons.
The Norwegian Police Directorate has decided to arm the police to ensure the implementation of planned events between July 19 and 23.
According to the police, the decision has been made to secure larger rallies in connection with the Islamic holiday Id al-adha and celebrations and events related to the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011.
“The markings will take place throughout the country, and it has been decided to ensure a uniform practice for police preparedness on these days,” section leader Jørn Schjelderup in the Police Directorate stated in a press release.
No concrete threat affected the decision. The Police Security Service (PST) still considers the terrorist threat in Norway to be “moderate.”
Oslo will contribute soldiers to the Takuba taskforce in Mali, a special European unit designed to help the country’s army battle jihadists, the Norwegian government has announced.
“Norway will for the first time provide soldiers to Takuba in Mali,” the defence ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.
“In the following months, a small number of soldiers will be sent as part of the Swedish detachment.”
A member of NATO but not the EU, Norway will become the ninth country to take part in Takuba, an operation that aims to play a central role in the fight against jihadists in the Sahel region after the French military scales down its presence.
France, Belgium, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Sweden have all provided soldiers to the taskforce. Denmark has pledged to do so in 2022.
Military forces have for nearly a decade been battling jihadist insurgents in the Sahel, an arid and volatile region that stretches across Africa under the Sahara desert and spans half a dozen countries.
More than 10,000 lightning strikes have struck Eastern Norway in the space of one hour. “We’re still counting,” meteorologists report.
There is a violent thunderstorm east of Oslo. According to the Meteorological Institute, the storm will move north during the afternoon.
Lyn.met.no, the meteorologists’ website for monitoring lightning, shows that 10,581 lightning strikes were registered in one hour.
The power outage map for the electricity supplier Elvia shows that hundreds of households in Eastern Norway have lost power.
Communications consultant Cecile Gregersen in Elvia told newspaper VG that the power outages are due to lightning and thunder.
“Lightning and thunder that are the cause of the power outages we see now. We have power outages in several places, from Trysil in the north to Moss and Fredrikstad in the south,” she told the newspaper.