On Friday, cyberattacks took down Finnish government websites as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Finnish MPs.
Denial of service (DoS) attacks hit the websites of the Finnish defense and foreign ministries around noon local time. About an hour later, the two government agencies tweeted that the websites were operational again.
The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also Express his support for Ukraine following Zelensky’s speech:
Earlier in the morning, before the cyberattacks, a Russian airliner was suspected of violating Finnish airspace. The apparent incursion by the IL-96-300 aircraft occurred off the coast of the Gulf of Finland near the town of Porvoo and lasted around three minutes, according to the Defense Ministry.
The aggressive cybersecurity and airspace breaches come as Finland, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, is set to submit an application for NATO membership. Finland has traditionally been neutral, while maintaining compulsory national military service for men, but has moved closer to NATO – especially in recent months.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNBC on Friday that the alliance would “warmly welcome” Finland if it were to continue.
Russia, however, has strongly opposed the proposal, and a Russian lawmaker warned this week that joining NATO would be a “strategic mistake” for the Nordic nation. Again, Russia has a lot of experience with strategic mistakes in Finland, not to mention the current situation in Ukraine.
As widely reported by several media outlets, Russian politician Vladimir Dzhabarov, a member of the county’s upper house, the Federation Council, made a not-so-veiled threat of violence if Finland wished to join.
Despite that country’s ties to Russia, if Finland joined NATO, “it would become a target,” Dzhabarov said. “I think so [would be] a terrible tragedy for all the people of Finland,” he added, making the airspace breach and cyberattacks look more like warning shots.
To be clear: Finland did not blame Russia for taking the websites offline during Zelenskyy’s address to its parliament.
According to the latest figures from Check Point Research, a month after the start of the war, Russia and Ukraine have seen an increase in cyberattacks. Russia saw a 10% jump while Ukraine saw a 17% increase, according to the security outlet.
Globally, threat researchers have documented a 16% increase in cyberattacks since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in late February. This reflects an 18% increase in weekly attacks in Europe and a 16% increase in the Asia-Pacific region. In North America, the average number of weekly attacks per organization is 14% higher than it was before the start of the war. ®