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The Finnish Parliament stated that hackers breached its internal IT system and gained access to email accounts belonging to members of parliament (MPs). Finland’s government officials said that the attack happened in the fall of 2020 and was not discovered until this month by the IT staff that runs the parliament’s system.

The issue has not been handed off to the KRP (Finnish Central Criminal Police). In an official statement, the KRP’s Commission, Tero Muurman, said that the attack did not damage the Parliament’s IT system. However, he said that the breach was not an accident, as all signs show it was intentional.

The investigation is underway

Murrman added that the parliament security breach is now being investigated as a suspected espionage incident, given that it targets members of the Finnish political elite. He says that at this stage, one alternative is that unknown actors have been able to get information by simply copying it.

The whole thing could have been done to benefit a foreign state or to cause harm to Finland.

The intrusion impacted more than one person and at the time of making the statement, even though the KRP could not disclose how many, for fear it may jeopardize the investigation.

Norway had a similar incident

Even though the government officials did not mention it, the incident is not unlike the one that happened in Norway, a neighbouring country. Earlier this fall, the Norwegian parliament spoke of a similar breach, targeting the email system.

After months of investigation, the Norwegian police secret service (PST) said that the intrusion was done by the APT28 group of hackers who are linked to the Russian military intelligence service (GRU).

A recent report by Microsoft highlights a trend in APT28 tactics, focused on email accounts using brute-force or credential stuffing.