Russian Ransomware Attackers Spotlighted in Parliament Seminar
Recently, Tietoevry fell victim to a Russian ransomware attack. The hacker group Akira breached several of the company's data centers, affecting over 120 Swedish authorities, the parliament, and prominent businesses. The issue of Russian cyberattacks is now under discussion in a parliamentary seminar.
“The parliament should be a knowledge center. Russian cyberattacks on authorities increase uncertainty. It is important for us as legislators to enhance our understanding of how hacker organizations operate and how Sweden can defend itself against cyber threats,” says Oliver Rosengren (M), the organizer of the seminar.
Europe, and particularly Sweden, has faced severe impacts from hacker groups in recent years. In 2023, Europe was the target of 85% of global attacks, with Sweden alone experiencing a third of the intrusions the previous year.
The hacker network Akira gained notoriety for conducting numerous ransomware attacks on companies in Northern Europe. In 2023, the Finnish Cyber Security Agency issued an official warning about the Russian hacker group’s cyberattacks.
It was highly anticipated that Sweden would become the target of a significant cyberattack. Every day, 24 hours a day, authorities, businesses, and organizations face attacks.
Dr. Yegor Aushev, a cybersecurity advisor to Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, as well as an advisor to Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation on cybersecurity, and CEO of Cyber Unit Technologies, participates in the parliamentary seminar to share insights into the Russian cyberattack strategy, its development, and how Akira’s ransomware attacks unfold.
“In recent times, the attacks have become more sophisticated. We must not forget that almost all intrusions depend on the human factor. Today, hackers target an employee’s child or parent. They find the weakest link into our systems,” explains Yegor Aushev.
A rough estimate suggests that the attack on Tietoevry may have cost at least SEK 1.2 billion, in addition to the damage caused by the potential leakage of personal information for 120 authorities to a foreign power, negatively impacting national security.
“The recent times have shown exactly how important IT and cybersecurity are. The Tietoevry attack, ransomware attacks on the Swedish Church, Coop, and the total shutdown of one of Ukraine’s largest media houses are just a few examples. Cyberattacks must be seen as a de facto attack on Sweden,” says Consid’s CEO Peter Hellgren.
Yegor Aushev emphasizes the importance of education and training. “What we have seen in Ukraine is that it is possible to build resilience against this type of attack. Hacker groups with more or less clear ties to Russia have been a problem for the Ukrainian population for the past ten years. Protection is possible, but it requires education, practice, and rigorous testing,” says Yegor Aushev.
The parliamentary seminar also includes Gustaf Göthberg (M), a member of the defense committee, Markus Selin (S), a substitute in the defense committee, and Peter Hellgren, CEO of Consid, present in the parliament.