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Swedish routers exploited by a Chinese hacker group

Swedish routers exploited by a Chinese hacker group

Säpo now reveals that APT31 carried out large-scale cyberattacks in 2020 and 2021 against several countries in Europe.

– These attacks were carried out, among others, from the routers of compromised individuals in Sweden, says Säpo press spokesman Fredrik Hultgren-Friberg.

The United States has brought charges

The United States brought charges against the hacker group after widespread electronic attacks against American politicians. The hacker group is said to be part of the Chinese state apparatus.

Pontus Johnson, a professor of cybersecurity, believes that the purpose of the attacks could be to impact critical infrastructure, among other things. The hacker group sent so many emails that some tracked down the recipient.

– In some cases, they went ahead and attempted to hack the email accounts of organizations, people, and technical infrastructure. In some cases, they succeeded.

In Europe, members of the international coalition, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), were affected. IPAC brings together politicians working on how democratic countries can confront China. Members include Swedish politician Elisabet Lahn (KD), municipal councilor in Gothenburg, and Member of Parliament Jawar Forssell (left).

Compromised routers create networks

By hacking Swedish routers, the hacker group built an infrastructure network that was used for cyberattacks.

– There they stole information from other countries, says Fredrik Hultgren-Friberg.

In addition to the United States, Great Britain, Norway and Finland also announced that they were affected by cyber attacks.

Fredrik Hultgren-Freberg could not delve into whether SAPO helped the United States prosecute the hacker group.

You want to be able to deny attacks

Fredrik Hultgren-Friberg says the hacker group uses this type of attack with the aim of being able to deny it. However, Säpo works cleverly to map what's happening and tries to interrupt it.

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– It must be difficult to know who is attacking. It's happening in an international context, so in terms of prosecution it becomes very complicated to be able to try and convict someone.