Finland’s parliament hit with cyberattack following US move to admit the country to NATO

President Biden shakes hands with Finnish Ambassador to the U.S. Mikko Hautala
Greg Nash
President Biden shakes hands with Finnish Ambassador to the U.S. Mikko Hautala speaks during a ceremony to sign NATO ratification documents for Finland and Sweden in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.

Finland’s parliament website was temporarily down on Tuesday following a cyberattack that coincided with President Biden’s move to admit the Nordic country to NATO.

The Finnish parliament said in a statement on Twitter that a denial-of-service attack hit the parliament’s external websites at around 2:30 p.m. local time. 

“The Parliament takes steps to limit the attack together with service providers and the Cybersecurity Center,” the statement said. 

On Wednesday, the parliament announced on Twitter that the website returned to normal on Tuesday night. 

The attack against the parliament occurred the same day Biden signed a measure backing Finland and Sweden’s admittance into NATO.

Biden’s signature makes the U.S. the 23rd NATO country out of 30 member states to approve the two Nordic countries’ admission to the alliance.

Biden called the move a “watershed moment” for the transatlantic alliance, adding that the decision to incorporate Finland and Sweden into NATO is “for the greater security stability … of the world.”

“At a moment when Putin’s Russia has shattered peace and security in Europe, when autocrats are challenging the very foundations of a rule-based order, the strength of a transatlantic alliance and America’s commitment to NATO is more important than it’s ever been,” Biden said on Tuesday at an event attended by the ambassadors of Finland and Sweden.

Last week, the Senate voted 95-1 to approve the resolution, with every member of the Democratic caucus and most Republicans voting in support.

Finland, along with Sweden, applied for NATO membership in May, a move prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Following Sweden’s decision to join NATO, the country’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson expressed concerns of possible cyber retaliation from Russia.

“There could be the possibility of cyberattacks, hybrid attacks and other measures, but it’s all up to them,” she said, adding that the decision to join NATO is what is best for her country’s security. 

Experts have warned that Russia could potentially use its cyber arsenal against Finland and Sweden, and say it’s likely that the country chooses to launch small-scale and unsophisticated types of cyberattacks, including distributed denial-of-service attacks and website defacement, as a form of protest against the expansion.

Tags Biden Finland Magdalena Andersson

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