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Finnish defence ministry targeted by web attack

The Ministry of Defence says its website came under attack on Tuesday afternoon, shortly before the Finnish and Russian presidents met in Moscow. The ministry says this is the second such disruption of its site this year.

Puolustusministeriön portti Helsingissä.
DefMin HQ in Helsinki's Kaarti district. Image: Yle

The Finnish Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday afternoon that its website had come under a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. With the disruption still ongoing in mid-afternoon, web traffic has been diverted from to a temporary site. The Ministry made the announcement shortly after 1pm.

It said later that the attack began around 12:30pm and was still ongoing some three hours later. The ministry declined to say how much traffic was targeting the site, its possible origin or when the site might return to normal.

2nd attack this year

Kristian Vakkuri, senior advisor on international affairs at the ministry, says this is the second such disruption of its site this year. The previous DDoS attack took place on 27 February and lasted 4-5 hours. That came at the same time as similar interference with the websites of the ministries of finance, social affairs and health, agriculture and forestry as well as the Council of State office and the Financial Supervisory Authority.

Nearly a year ago, the Finnish police website was out of service for many hours, due to a large-scale DDoS attack. During a denial of service attack, a targeted website is typically bombarded with requests, blocking legitimate users attempting to log into the site.

President in Russia, Minister in Australia

The attack came on the same day as Brussels suffered twin terrorist attacks and on the afternoon that Finnish President Sauli Niinistö met with his Russian opposite number Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Upcoming joint military exercises between US and Finnish militaries were expected to be on the agenda of those talks.

Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö (no relation) is in Australia, where he met with Assistant Minister for Defence Michael McCormack in Canberra on Monday. Jussi Niinistö's visit concludes on Thursday, while the president returns on Wednesday.

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