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Emails compromised in cyber attack on Finland's Parliament

The breach occurred in the autumn and was detected by Parliament’s internal technical surveillance.

Eduskuntalo pimeänä marraskuun iltana.
The security of a number of email accounts was compromised as a result of the attack. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Finland’s Parliament was the target of a cyber attack during the past autumn, according to a statement released by the parliamentary press office on Monday.

The attack was detected by Parliament’s internal technical surveillance, the statement said, and the breach is now being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

As a result of the attack, the security of a number of parliamentary email accounts was compromised, some of which belonged to MPs.

Speaker of Parliament, Anu Vehviläinen (Cen), said that the incident was a serious attack on democracy and on Finnish society.

"We cannot accept any kind of hostile cyber activity, whether carried out by a governmental or non-governmental body," Vehviläinen said, adding that Finland must guarantee the safety and security of information in both the public and private sectors by all means necessary.

"In order to strengthen cyber security, we need our own national measures as well as active action at the EU level and in other international cooperation," she said.

Vehviläinen added that Parliament will give the NBI all necessary help and support in the investigation of the breach, but said that Parliament could not further comment on the matter while the investigation was still ongoing.

NBI: "Exceptional" case for Finland

In a separate press release, the NBI said that a preliminary probe into the incident was launched in late autumn, and the matter is now being investigated as a suspected case of aggravated hacking and espionage.

NBI Detective Inspector Tero Muurman said that the act was not random or accidental.

One line of investigation being pursued is that as-yet unknown parties may have been able to obtain information through the hacking, either for the benefit of a foreign state or to harm Finland.

"The breach has affected more than one person, but unfortunately we cannot provide the exact number without endangering the ongoing preliminary investigation," Muurman said, adding that the nature of this investigation is unusual for Finnish authorities.

"This case is exceptional in Finland, with serious and unfortunate consequences for the victims," he said.

The NBI will cooperate with the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) in its investigation, as well as with a number of international bodies.

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