Photo: TT
Credit: TT

MSB about IT attacks: 'An eye opener'

4:10 min

As police continue to investigate who or what was responsible for an attack on several of Sweden's major media outlets' websites over the weekend, the Home Affairs minister will be meeting with news organizations on Monday in order to discuss how they can be better prepared to deal with such things in the future.

Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman (Social Democrat) described the attack, which took place Saturday evening, as one "on free speech" and told DI, "we have not done enough in order to meet the cyber and information security threat."

Ygeman invited representatives from Swedish media outlets for a discussion on Monday about preparedness for such attacks. Next month, state agencies will have to report IT incidents, and the government is now also looking into which companies should also be obliged to do this, with the aim of getting a better picture of the information security situation, and to be able to take the appropriate measures, reports DI.

Monday, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told news agency TT that MSB will begin an investigation into Swedish media's vulnerability in a crisis situation.

"If you can crack websites in that way, it touches upon a problem in an even broader security context. We have just begun work on cyber security and IT strategy. That should be completed as soon as possible," said Löfven.

Sofia Olsson Olsén, acting editor in chief at the tabloid Aftonbladet, welcomed the discussion with Ygeman and told news agency TT, "This is about our societal infrastructure; it actually doesn't affect just media. We are so extremely dependent on IT, to be able to have an Internet that actually works everywhere."

In 2011, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency made a risk, threat and vulnerability analysis of the media industry. Richard Oehme, who head of cybersecurity at the agency, told DI, "Even then we pointed out that distributed denial of service was a thing that needed to be taken care of, and even then, a number of media companies had been affected by this."

He said that previously, this has lain with the IT departments, but that it needs to be addressed at the board room level. "Resources need to be put aside for this," he told DI.

Anders Ahlqvist, an expert on IT crimes who works at the police's Department of National Operations, told news agency TT that the culprit or culprits who lay behind Saturday evening's attack could be anyone from a teenager somewhere to a hostile state, but he told the newspaper Dagens Industri (DI) that it is "far from certain that we have seen the end of this."

On Saturday evening, the websites of several Swedish media outlets, including Aftonbladet, Expressen, Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Industri, were down, due to a denial of service attack.

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