Update: The article has been updated to include PST’s media response.

The Norwegian Police Security Service’s (PST) website was down for about an hour on Thursday morning. The error was reported at 09:53. Around 11 o’clock the pages were back in normal operation, without PST having given any explanation as to what the cause was.

That such an incident could happen to PST, which surely has near unlimited computer expertise at its disposal, raises the question of whether PST has been the victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack. PST does not yet know what has happened.

At 10:15 NTB got in touch with PST:

– We are aware that the pages are not working. We are now investigating what the problem is, writes senior adviser Martin Bernsen in PST in a text message to NTB.

Nettavisen also received a response from PST:

– We have not been notified of anything that would indicate that the website would not work. We probably have to investigate further, says senior adviser in the Police Security Service (PST), Martin Bernsen, to Nettavisen.

– Is it a hacking or DDoS attack?

– I cannot determine that at all, says Bernsen.

A DDoS attack, also known as Distributed Denial of Service, occurs when a server or network is hit by a cyber attack. The purpose is to disrupt normal operations. (The online newspaper)

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This is how PST’s website looked at 10:03, Thursday 16 February. Screenshot: pst.noWhen the Norwegian parliament (Storting) was hit by a cyber-attack for the second time in March 2021, the Storting’s president at that time Tone W. Trøen (H) said this to NTB:

– [the cyber-attack] is bigger and more advanced than what we experienced last autumn, says Trøen.

– This cyber-attack had the potential to disrupt the Storting’s parliamentary processes. I would therefore say that this is an attack on our democracy, says Trøen.

When the websites of the country’s security service are now out of service, it can be explained by a technical failure, but in these times of war it is also conceivable that one of the institutions that are supposed to defend the citizens’ and the country’s security may have been hacked.

PST should come up with an explanation as soon as possible.

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