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Cyber-attack shuts Finnish ministry jobs site

Officials closed a jobs data and labour exchange site after detecting a break-in. Police are investigating.

Government officials insist that no serious damage was done in the latest attack. Image: Ritchie B. Tongo / EPA

A Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment data site has been closed due to a hacker attack.

The Toimiala Online (Sector Online) service publishes data including monthly employment ministry surveys and labour exchange reports.

According to Jouko Nieminen, Strategy Director of the KEHA Development and Administration Centre, which maintains the service, says officials noticed two or three weeks ago that the service was not working and had been the subject of an external break-in.

“We have not been able to access the content. We took the service offline immediately. Our data security failed this time,” he said.

"No data lost"

Nieminen says that no significant damage was done, and no data was lost.

He declined to speculate on who might be behind the attack, which is being investigated by the police.

Officials have not commented on any possible link to a series of directed denial of service attacks on Finnish public-sector websites in August and September.

On Tuesday the Ministry released an employment survey, which Nieminen says was published “nearly normally” despite the service shutdown. He says that his agency will try to get the system up and running again before the next employment survey is issued a month from now.

The site is usually used for thousand of data searches monthly.

Besides the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the service includes data produced by the Finance Ministry, Statistics Finland, the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) and other bodies. It operates on a state server run by the Government ICT Centre (Valtori).