Swedish News Sites Under Attack

by Erin on October 29th, 2009 in Industry and Security News.

A number of major news sites, right here in our very own Sweden, have been knocked offline in what’s believed to be a ‘malicious distributed denial-of-service’, or DDoS, attack.

Early this morning, The Local reports, clients of IT service provider, Basefarm – which includes several major Swedish news sites – were hit by a series of attacks that took them out of operation. Among those affected were Stampen, owner of Göteborgs-Posten, Nerikes Allehanda newspaper, Södertälje's Länstidning, Mittmedia, Sundvalls-Tidning, and TV 4. While most of the news sites were live again by noon Central European Time, they're not all functioning as of yet.

In this type of DDoS attack, cyber criminals cripple the site and make it unavailable to its users by bombarding it with traffic from many other computers. These attacks are often launched using compromised systems of Internet users, through the use of botnets; owners of the infected machines launching the attack are mostly likely unaware that they’re even involved.

According to reports, the Swedish government authority, Sitic, is taking the attacks very seriously and has reached out to Basefarm to offer assistance. “If they can successfully pinpoint where the attacks originate from, we can pass that information on to our international contacts and request help in those countries, so that attacks can be prevented at the source,” Kristian Borryd, an IT security technician at Sitic, an independent organization that assesses IT security threats involving public authorities, county councils, municipalities, and companies, told Svenska Dagbladet.

As of now, the source of the attacks remain unknown. Stay tuned here for updates.

Update: According to reports, the Swedish police’s website was also targeted in the DDoS attack. The site, at polisen.se, was knocked offline for several hours late Thursday afternoon.