Hacking attacks last yeAr targeting a number of Swedish state institutions, companies and colleges were masterminded by foreign intelligence services, the country's Local news agency has cited a source in Swedish intelligence.
‘We have confirmation that the attacks were masterminded by foreign intelligence’,Fredrik Wallin, а spokesman for
Sweden's signals intelligence agency, the National Defence Radio Establishment (Svenska Försvarets radioanstalt – FRA) said, adding that the actions threaten Sweden's competitiveness as a state.
However, he has not specified the country of origin of the attacks. Local claims those were both individual hacking attempts as well as large-scale attacks on IT systems mainly of Swedish public institutions, major businesses and defense researchers. The hackers gained unauthorized access to computers of someone in a particular industry and tried to infect the machines with malware to monitor and steal data, an IT source told reporters.
Earlier, Sweden's FRA has been reported to cooperate with the US National Security Agency (NSA) in operations to carry out internet surveillance and collect information about Russian politicians, according to documents leaked by NSA-whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Hackers from the so-called “Syrian Electronic Army” have got access to the blog and the official accounts in social networks that are hosted by Skype. The intruders used the hacked facilities for placing messages criticizing NSA’s programs of mass surveillance, the TechCrunch edition writes.
One of the messages that the hackers placed in Twitter calls on Web users not to use post services run by Microsoft, such as Hotmail or Outlook. The hackers are claiming that these services are surveying their clients’ accounts and selling information to the governments.
At present, the hackers’ messages at the Skype’s blog and page in Facebook have already been removed, while the messages in Skype’s microblog in Twitter are still there.
No reports have come about any malfunctions in the work of the Skype service.
It is not for nothing that the hackers chose Skype and Microsoft as their aim. This summer, Microsoft found itself in the center of a scandal when The Guardian, referring to materials received from Edward Snowden, wrote that allegedly, Microsoft was offering NSA access to users’ letters and chats in Outlook bypassing Microsoft’s cryptographic security systems.
Also, according to documents provided by Snowden, allegedly, NSA employees have received direct access to SkyDrive and started to receive Skype’s metadata since February 6, 2011.
The Skype company is denying that it has ever granted access to these services to NSA employees.
The Syrian hackers, who are supporting President Bashar al-Assad, are organizing cyber attacks on Twitter accounts of well-known personalities and organizations, as well as on various media websites with the aim to highlight the events in Syria from the point of view of the Syrian government.