Norway’s foreign ministry, army and other institutions have been targeted in a cyber-attack by a group suspected of having links to Russian authorities, according to Norwegian intelligence, which was one of the targets.
Known as APT 29, the group singled out by Oslo has already been accused of hacking interference in the US presidential election.
"Nine different email accounts were targeted in an attempt at what is called spear phishing, in other words, malicious emails,” Arne Christian Haugstoyl, an official with Norway’s intelligence service, PST, told television channel TV2.
He said it was difficult to know the goal of the operation, to which Norway was alerted by an allied country, but he described APT 29 as a group "with links to the Russian authorities”.
The PST spokesman Martin Bernsen said there was "no reason to believe that classified information had been obtained in connection with the attack”, according to the daily newspaper Verdens Gang (VG).
In addition to the PST, the foreign ministry and the army, the attack targeted the radiation protection agency, a school and the parliamentary group of the Labour party, the traditionally dominant party in Norway which is currently in opposition.
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Legislative elections are scheduled for 11 September, although no link has been made to the vote.
Norway, a Nato member, and neighbouring Russia normally enjoy good relations but these have grown more tense since the Ukraine crisis.
It summoned the Russian ambassador on Wednesday to lodge a protest after Moscow refused visas to two senior parliamentarians in a move Oslo denounced as "unjustifiable”. Russia said the refusal was a reaction to Norway’s participation in EU economic sanctions against it over the Ukraine crisis. Moscow was also angered by the recent deployment of about 300 US soldiers on Norwegian soil.