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Young Finn identified as suspect in recent cyber-attacks has died

The National Bureau of Investigation has identified a suspect in widespread disruptions of state websites last summer and early autumn, but said he has died.

Several government agency websites suffered shutdowns or slowdowns. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) announced on Monday that a preliminary investigation has identified a suspect believed to have carried out extensive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Finnish public-sector sites such as the (siirryt toiseen palveluun) portal, run by the Population Register Centre.

The attacks also shut down or slowed websites of the police, tax administration, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) and the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) into late September.

Lone wolf

Police say that a Finnish man in his 20s was behind the cyber-attacks, and that he acted alone. They have been investigating this as a case of aggravated disruption of data systems.

“The preliminary investigation is ongoing and may last several months still. We are looking into possible links to earlier denial-of-service incidents,” says detective inspector Marko Leponen of the NBI, who is leading the investigation.

Police say that the case will not however be passed on to a prosecutor on completion, because the suspect is deceased. They have not released any details about his death.