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Cyber attack shuts down many government websites in Finland

Sunday's DDoS attack was the "biggest we've had in the past few months," according to the head of Finland's Government ICT Centre.

Tietoiikennejohtoja.
Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack knocked out many government web sites on Sunday, as it prevented users from signing into Finland's online identity verification site Suomi.fi.

The websites of the Finnish National Insurance Institution (Kela), the Population Register Centre and the police became unavailable following the attack. Several ministry websites were also hit, including the ministries of the interior, education and culture, along with the ministry of social affairs and health.

According to the Government ICT Centre (Valtori), the internet attack took place at 4:30pm, preventing users from logging in to Suomi.fi services, which caused problems for several government-run sites on Sunday.

"Biggest attack in months"

”This is the biggest attack we've had in the past few months. We need to think how to prepare better for them,” said Valtori CEO Pasi Lehmus. All of the affected web sites use Suomi.fi for user verification details.

However, not all government websites were affected by the cyber attack. For example, the defence ministry's web pages remained functional.

“The Defence Ministry web site uses a different structure. If any trouble arises, all traffic is directed to a static site,” said Mikko Vuorikoski from Valtori.

The disruption lasted for a few hours and the web sites became fully functional on Sunday evening.

Last year, Kela's services were targeted by foreign hackers, which knocked out services over a weekend.

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