Attempted hacking of Norwegian researchers by Iran

University of Oslo at Blindern.Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

The FBI have found 9 Iranians responsible for an attack against researchers. 43 of them are employees at the University of Oslo and the University of Bergen.


It was made apparent under investigations conducted by the universities after the Norwegian Police Security Service’s (PST) warned the research institutions about the FBI’s investigation, according to NRK.

The US intelligence agency stated that there have been attacks on 144 universities in the US, along with 176 in other countries, including Norway.

Hanne Blomberg, the PST’s head of the department of government actors, sat the attacks were likely done with the intention of stealing research material.

“According to US authorities, these actors may be linked to Iranian government organisations,” said Blomberg to NRK.

NRK has made attempts to contact the Iranian embassy to answer the accusations, but there has yet to be a reply.

The attack was supposedly conducted via e-mails sent to the researchers, luring them into clicking on a malicious link. The sender posed as a colleague.

“It is quite common for researchers to receive such messages from colleagues seeking to cooperate, so it is understandable that a researcher would fall for it. This is called targeted phishing, or ‘fisking’, as one says in Norwegian,” said IT director at UiO Lars Oftedal, to NRK.

Dag Rune Olsen, the director of the University of Bergen, referred to the attacks as “downright theivery”. He claimed that 19 of the university’s researchers were exposed to the attack, and that they find the whole incident very uncomfortable.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today