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Norway’s oil, gas and defense industries hit by major data theft

The Norwegian National Security Authority, the NSN, said in a press statement late yesterday that a number of industrial secrets had been stolen and sent out digitally from Norway, but not further information on the data thefts have been revealed.

The Associated Press, meanwhile, quotes the NSN agency as saying that more than 10 different cyber attacks were discovered in the last year, but that the agency feels that the number may have been much higher because other victims might not have yet realised that their computers have been targeted.

The case, notes the newswire, may be significant as Norway's oil and gas industry is ranked the third largest in the world, where 2.8 million barrels are produced every day.

The Techworld newswire’s John E Dunn appears to have done some digging this morning and claims the data breaches were caused by a trojan infection, possibly stemming from a phishing attack.

“Norway’s economy is heavily dependent on its oil and gas industries, which has made it one of the wealthiest countries in the world and kept afloat a relatively high state spending”, he notes.

The attacks, says the newswire, are not the first to hit Norway in recent times, as back in the NSM reported similar attacks on industrial control systems used in the country’s oil and gas sector without specifying the companies involved.

The new attacks, adds the newswire, are believed to be on an even larger scale.

Commenting on the attacks, Rob Rachwald, Imperva’s director of security, said that, to put the incident in context, Statoil, Norway's national oil company – which is two-third owned by the government there - is the 13th largest company in the world by revenue in 2010 according to Fortune magazine.

“Given Norway's size and stature in energy production, today's announcement should come as no surprise. Cyber espionage is quickly becoming the number one security priority for many organizations worldwide and today's announcement highlights why”, he said.


 

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