Norway hit by major data-theft attack

Nov 17, 2011

(AP) -- Data from Norway's oil and defense industries may have been stolen in what is feared to be one of the most extensive data espionage cases in the country's history, security officials said Thursday.

Industrial secrets from companies were stolen and "sent out digitally from the country," the Norwegian Authority said, though it did not name any companies or institutions that were targeted.

At least 10 different attacks, mostly aimed at the oil, gas, energy and defense industries, were discovered in the past year, but the agency said it has to assume the number is much higher because many victims have yet to realize that their computers have been hacked.

"This is the first time Norway has unveiled such an extensive and widespread espionage attack," it said.

Spokesman Kjetil Berg Veire added it is likely that more than one person is behind the attacks.

The methods varied, but in some cases individually crafted e-mails that, armed with viruses, would sweep recipients' entire hard-drives for data and steal passwords, documents and confidential documents.

The agency said in a statement that this type of data-theft was "cost-efficient" for foreign and that "espionage over the Internet is cheap, provides good results and is low-risk." Veire would not elaborate, but said it was not clear who was behind the attacks.

The attacks often occurred when companies were negotiating large contracts, the agency said.

Important Norwegian institutions have been targeted by hackers before.

In 2010, some two weeks after Chinese dissident and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo was named that year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Norway's Nobel Institute website came under attack, with a , a particularly potent , being installed on it.

Other attacks on the institute in that same period came via email, containing virus-infected attachments.

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User comments : 1

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Nerdyguy
Nov 17, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Nov 20, 2011
Wow! Are you freaking kidding me PhysOrg?

There are rants all over PhysOrg about meaningless, pointless drivel. The most common is "death to America" or "death to Americans".

You refuse to remove these posts, yet you remove a post where I say "thanks China"???

Are you say clueless as to not understand that China is the SINGLE country that is MOST OFTEN identified by intelligence analysts around the globe for being the point of origination for these attacks?

Sad, very sad.

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