Norway’s parliament hit by new hack attack | Reuters

Hackers have infiltrated the Norwegian Parliament’s computer systems and extracted data, officials said on Wednesday, just six months after a previous cyber attack was made public. The attack by unknown hackers was linked to a “vulnerability” in Microsoft’s Exchange software, the parliament said, adding that this was an “international problem”. The latest attack was more severe than last year’s, parliament President Tone Wilhelmsen Troen told a news conference. “This is an attack on our democracy,” she said. “The severity is underscored by the fact that this is happening in the run-up to a parliamentary election and as parliament is handling a pandemic.” An investigation of what information had been extracted was ongoing, she added. The previous attack, made public in September, was launched by Russia, Norwegian foreign minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said the following month, an accusation Moscow denies.

Full Article: Norway’s parliament hit by new hack attack | Reuters

Norwegian police implicate Fancy Bear in parliament hack, describe ‘brute forcing’ of email accounts | Sean Lyngaas/CyberScoop

Norwegian authorities on Tuesday got more specific in their accusation of Russian involvement in an August cyberattack on Norwegian parliament, implicating the same notorious group of suspected Russian military intelligence hackers accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. election. Fancy Bear or APT28 — a group of hackers linked with Russia’s GRU military agency — was likely behind the breach, which resulted in the theft of “sensitive content” from some Norwegian lawmakers’ email accounts, Norway’s national police agency said in a statement. The attackers used a common technique called “brute forcing,” which bombards accounts with passwords until one works, to access the Norwegian parliament’s email system, according to the statement signed by Norwegian police attorney Anne Karoline Bakken Staff. The Fancy Bear operatives then tried to move further into parliament’s IT systems, according to the statement, but were unsuccessful. The intrusions were part of a broader suspected Fancy Bear campaign within and without Norway since at least 2019, Norwegian officials concluded. Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported that more than 10 organizations in Norway were targeted in the campaign, but did not name them. Relations between Russia and Norway have grown more tense in recent months after Norwegian authorities expelled a Russian diplomat because of his alleged connection to an espionage case, and Russia retaliated by expelling a Norwegian diplomat.

Full Article: Norwegian police implicate Fancy Bear in parliament hack, describe ‘brute forcing’ of email accounts

Norway: Opposition hits out at ’19th century’ double vote idea | The Local

A suggestion by that owners of holiday cabins could be given two votes – one for each constituency in which they own property – has been decried by the opposition as “from the 19th century”. The Progress Party (FrP), a right-wing partner in the coalition government, last week suggested that an extra vote could be given to citizens who pay real estate tax on properties in separate parts of the country. Helge André Njåstad, financial spokesperson with the Progress Party, said last week the measure would give property tax contributors fair influence in the areas in which they contribute to municipal coffers. The party actually wants to reduce real estate tax overall, Njåstad also said.

Norway: Prime minister, says Europe is on alert about Russian interference | The Washington Post

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who calls her country the West’s “eyes and ears” on Russia’s northern border, said Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has put European democracies on alert for future meddling. “The discussion you’ve had in the United States has, of course, lifted this issue in all European countries,” Solberg said Wednesday in an interview with The Washington Post. “Every country has to deal with it their own way. It’s also about making your political system resilient enough against these types of threats.”

Norway: Votes to be counted manually in fear of election hacking | The Independent Barents Observer

People goes to the polls for Parliament elections on Monday, but results are likely not ready before Tuesday. Computer counting alone is not enough. The Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM) and the Police Security Service (PST) have together with the Directorate of Elections made risk and vulnerability assessments. The government says there are no indications that anyone has attempted to affect the conduct of the elections in any way. However, the government says in a statement, «there are increasing activity and attention, both domestically and internationally, around some of the technical solutions in place. This is in and of itself a source of elevated risk.»

Norway: Thousands excluded from Election Day | News from Norway

It was pouring rain in Oslo and many other Norwegian cities on Election Day Monday. That was at least some consolation, perhaps, for the thousands of permanent Norwegian residents over the age of 18 who couldn’t brave the bad weather and troop to the polls anyway, because they’re not eligible to vote. The newspaper Aftenposten reported recently that there’s now nearly a half-million people in Norway, many of them long-time residents, who are not allowed to vote in the national parliamentary elections that roll around every four years. That’s largely because of Norway’s law against dual citizenship. Even though tens of thousands qualify for citizenship and could readily obtain a Norwegian passport, the law demands that they’d have to give up the citizenship of their birth, and that’s not easy for anyone who maintains ties with their homeland and views their homeland as an important part of their identity.

Norway: Norwegians to vote in final day of cliffhanger election for parliament | Reuters

Norwegians will go to the polls for a final day of voting on Monday in a parliamentary election that remains too close to call between Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s centre-right block and the centre-left opposition headed by the Labour Party. While Solberg’s Conservatives want to cut taxes in a bid to boost growth if they win a fresh mandate, Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere seeks tax hikes to fund better public services. The outcome could also impact Norway’s oil industry, as either Solberg or Gahr Stoere is likely to depend on one or more small parties that seek to impose limits on exploration in Arctic waters off Norway’s northern coast.

Norway: Young generation revulsed by Breivik may sway Norway’s election | Reuters

Young Norwegians, politicized by the massacre of 77 people by far-right militant Anders Behring Breivik, will play a key role in an election next week that could hinge on issues close to their hearts such as climate change. In 2011 Breivik killed eight people in a bombing in central Oslo and gunned down another 69 at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya Island, in the worst attacks in Norway since World War Two. They motivated a generation of young people, often children or teenagers at the time, to become more involved in mainstream politics – both on the left and the right – in a backlash against his xenophobic and anti-Muslim world view. And data shows young voters are now more likely than in the past to actually cast their ballots. “I felt so powerless that day. It was a way to fight back,” said Anja Ariel Toernes Brekke, 21, who joined the youth wing of the Labour Party a few weeks after Breivik’s attacks. She is now the general secretary of the far-left Red party’s youth wing. “I wanted to prove that the left was not weakened, that there would be people with those beliefs to replace those who had died,” she told Reuters.

Norway: Election security may delay results | News from Norway

As Norwegian voters head into election booths to cast their ballots, state officials have already been working for months to ensure the highest possible security around their choices for Parliament. Some of the security measures now in place may cause some delays in election results early next week, but that’s a risk the officials are willing to take. “We’ll just have to use the time it takes to count up all the ballots,” one local official told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) just after being told on Friday that all municipalities must conduct at least one manual count of all absentee and early voting and those ballots cast on Election Day next Monday. Instead of simply feeding ballots into scanners attached to the Internet, people will also count the votes.

Norway: Pick your kingmaker: small parties loom large in Norway’s election | Reuters

Five tiny political parties could all end up kingmakers in Norway’s parliament after elections on Sept. 11, presenting a risk to Norway’s key oil industry and making it even more difficult to form a government than before. The Greens aiming to shut Norway’s oil industry and the Marxist Red party seeking social justice are among those hoping for influence, as are the more experienced Socialist Left, centrist Liberals and the socially conservative Christian Democrats. Overall, the Nordic nation faces at least ten potential alternatives for minority or majority coalition governments and the outcome of the vote is particularly hard to predict, pollsters say.

Norway: Governments should consider the consequences when they decide whether to adopt Internet voting | Democratic Audit

The secret ballot is largely undisputed as a democratic principle. What this principle means in practice, however, may be contested when voting takes place outside the polling station in a so-called uncontrolled environment, i.e., remote voting including Internet voting, postal voting and telephone voting. Remote voting transfers the responsibility for vote secrecy from the authorities to the voters. The popular understanding of the principle of the secret ballot, therefore, becomes crucial, because this may influence whether voters actually keep their vote secret. The secrecy of the vote has two aspects. First, it requires that voters are able to cast their votes in private, unobserved by anyone. Second, it requires that no one is able to break the anonymity of the vote at a later stage. Even though both aspects are important, we focus on the former. Voter attitudes towards the privacy aspect have received little attention in the literature on remote voting. The secrecy of the vote is usually taken for granted, and questions about this issue are therefore rarely asked in surveys.

Norway: Anti-immigrant party set for worst election result in 22 years | Reuters

An anti-immigration party in Norway’s coalition government headed for its worst election result in 22 years in a local vote on Monday after its opposition to Syrian refugees put it out of step with many voters. The right-wing Progress Party had 9.7 percent with 87 percent of the votes counted, against 16.3 percent in a parliamentary vote in 2013. It was Progress’ worst election since receiving 6.3 percent of the vote in 1993. The election was also a blow to the Conservative Party, the senior partner in the two-party government which came to office in 2013 and has struggled with falling prices of oil, Norway’s main export, and rising unemployment. The Conservatives’ share fell to 22.4 percent, down 5.6 percentage points from four years ago as voters swung left.

Norway: Local elections test welcome for Syrian refugees | Reuters

Norway’s anti-immigration Progress Party may be facing its worst election result in 20 years in municipal voting on Monday as its hostility to Syrian refugees leaves it out of step with a more welcoming mood in the Nordic nation in the last month or so. Progress has sought to turn the municipal election into a vote on a plan it opposes to take in 8,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2017, arguing that locally elected politicians could simply refuse to accept refugees. The two parties in the right-wing minority government, the Conservatives and Progress, have also lost ground since 2013 parliamentary elections after tax cuts that have mainly benefited the rich.

Norway: Internet voting experiment fails | ZDNet

The Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation has put an end to a pilot project allowing voting on the internet. The main reasons cited are a lack of increase in turnout amid concern that the program could damage confidence in the electoral process. A study performed by the Ministry of the test programs run in their 2011 and 2013 elections shows many conflicting results but, at bottom, the benefits were too slight and the problems too great. Only a summary of the Ministry’s study is available in English. The full study is in Norwegian (PDF). One interesting result was evidence that a small number of voters, 0.75% of all voters, voted twice in 2013. They voted once online and once by conventional paper ballot at a polling station. At the same time, convinced that it is necessary in order to increase disappointing voter participation rates, officials in the US and UK still are pushing for internet voting. As I explained several weeks ago, in the US voting over the internet is creeping in from the bottom up with no real thought being put into the process.

Norway: E-voting experiments end in Norway amid security fears | BBC

Norway is ending trials of e-voting systems used in national and local elections. Experiments with voting via the net were carried out during elections held in 2011 and 2013. But the trials have ended because, said the government, voters’ fears about their votes becoming public could undermine democratic processes. Political controversy and the fact that the trials did not boost turnout also led to the experiment ending. In a statement, Norway’s Office of Modernisation said it was ending the experiments following discussions in the nation’s parliament about efforts to update voting systems.  The statement said although there was “broad political desire” to let people vote via the net, the poor results from the last two experiments had convinced the government to stop spending money on more trials.

Norway: Norway Does A Ctrl+Alt+Delete On E-Voting Experiment | NPR

After a two-year trial for Internet voting, Norway is pulling the plug. The country’s Office of Modernization said in a statement that there’s no evidence that online voting, tested in elections in 2011 and 2013, improved turnout. It also said that “political disagreement” over the issue, along with voters’ fear that ballots might not be secure, could undermine the democratic process. The office said it had “decided that the attempt with voting over the Internet should not be promoted.” The idea of online voting has been in the ether for as long as the Internet, so Norway’s experience might be relevant elsewhere. … David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, wrote in 2011 that “computer and network security experts are virtually unanimous in pointing out that online voting is an exceedingly dangerous threat to the integrity of U.S. elections. “There is no way to guarantee that the security, privacy, and transparency requirements for elections can all be met with any practical technology in the foreseeable future,” he says.

Norway: Vote early, vote often: Inside Norway’s pioneering open source e-voting trials | ZDNet

With Norway holding parliamentary elections this week, the country has taken the opportunity to hold its second e-voting pilot. The pilot follows an earlier trial which took place during the local government elections in 2011. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, the ministry responsible for running elections in Norway, the e-voting participation increased significantly compared to 2011. The trial was carried out in 12 municipalities, chosen for geographical and demographical diversity, which play home to 250,000 of Norway’s 3.6 million voters. … Even though the e-voting system with security front and centre, it still has attracted some criticism from security professionals. The first and most discussed issue were concerns raised over the encryption used in the pilot. The encryption software on the voters’ computers was thought to not have a good enough random number seed for the algorithm and, according to the security company Computas which was engaged by the government to control the system, the seed value was “very predictable”.

Norway: Opposition set for sweeping election victory | Reuters

Norway’s center-right opposition, pledging privatization, tax cuts and smaller government, was set for a sweeping election win on Monday but faces difficult coalition talks since a populist anti-immigration party will hold the balance of power. Norway has enjoyed rare economic success, thanks to its flourishing offshore oil sector boosting per capita GDP to $100,000. But growth is slowing and voters are ready to punish Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, accusing him of wasting a once-in-a-lifetime economic boom. “To me, this vote is about using our fortunes better,” Oslo voter Geir Henriksen, 36, said. “Public service, like health and elderly care, is not getting any better even as the government spends more and more. We need to rebalance government.” Labour could still end up as the biggest party with 30 percent, opinion polls show, but that will not be enough. The four center-right parties, led by likely future prime minister Erna Solberg’s Conservatives, are on course for around 100 seats in parliament, 15 more than needed for a majority.

Norway: OSCE monitors Norway parliamentary elections | The Foreigner

2013 is the second General Election year this will be done. Their presence is by official invitation from the Government of Norway. It is also based on the findings and conclusions of a Needs Assessment Mission (NAM), conducted between 4 to 6 June. The OSCE/ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights)-deployed Election Assessment Mission (EAM) is headed by American Peter Eicher. Other foreign core team members are election analyst Goran Petrov (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), and Lisa Klein, a legal and campaign finance analyst from the UK. Sweden’s David Bismark, a new voting technologies analyist, and Yuri Ozerov (procurement and contracting officer, Russia), make up the final two foreign NAM team members. In particular, the election observers will investigate aspects related to the Internet voting pilot project.

Norway: Prime minister runs out of road in election race | Financial Times

It seemed a perfectly-timed stunt from Jens Stoltenberg. The Norwegian prime minister, lagging behind opposition parties ahead of parliamentary elections next month, pretended to be a taxi driver around Oslo, demonstrating his charm to ordinary voters. But then things started to go wrong. It transpired some of his passengers had been paid to make the journey while the whole thing had been dreamt up by Try Advertising, the governing Labour party’s ad agency. Worst of all, one of his passengers complained his bad driving had worsened her back problems. As Mr Stoltenberg said: “I think the country and Norwegian taxi passengers are best served if I am the prime minister and not a taxi driver.”

Norway: Prime Minister turns secret cabbie in election drive | Reuters

Norway’s prime minister worked secretly as a taxi driver in central Oslo for a day in June, leaving his passengers wondering whether their elected leader had quit the day job. Wearing a taxi driver’s uniform and sunglasses, Jens Stoltenberg drove passengers around the streets of the Norwegian capital for several hours, confirming his identity only after his passengers realized who he was. The stunt, dreamed up by an ad agency as part of Stoltenberg’s campaign for re-election, was filmed on hidden cameras. A video of the event was published on Sunday by daily newspaper VG and on the PM’s Facebook page. Stoltenberg told the newspaper he had wanted to hear people’s honest views on politics. “If there is one place where people say what they really mean about most things, it is in a taxi. Right from the gut,” he told VG.

Norway: Election campaign cranks into gear |

Norway’s national parliamentary election is less than six weeks away, but only now are politicians returning from their summer holidays and getting into campaign mode. Many voters seem to assume that Norway’s non-socialist parties will win this time, leading to worries that voter turnout may be low. Public opinion polls have for months showed the non-socialist (borgerlig) parties in the lead, with the Conservatives (Høyre) keen to head a coalition government that’s likely, for the first time, to include the even more conservative Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp). A recent study by three researchers at statistics firm Norsk Regnesentral indicated there’s a 91.5 percent probability for a Høyre-Frp majority, and less than a 5 percent chance that Norway’s current left-center government coalition led by Labour will win a third term. Despite the polls and prognoses that Høyre and Frp look set to win a majority in Parliament (Storting) alone, Høyre leader Erna Solberg wants to include the much smaller Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkeparti, KrF) and the Liberals (Venstre) in the government. That will make it tougher to agree on a common platform, but may make it easier for Solberg to temper some of Frp’s more hard-line stands on, for example, use of oil revenues and limits on immigration.

Norway: Prime Minister: ‘Vote for democracy’ | The Foreigner

Local election voting points towards increased participation at the polls this time around compared with four years ago. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg urges voters to show what is important for them.

NRK reports about 16 percent cast their ballot in Tromsø, yesterday, 4 percent higher than in 2007. Whilst the broadcaster says Sarpsborg and Lillehammer showed a good turnout, with queues in Kongsberg. Voters in Oslo were not put off by the rain, and there are indications of increased voter numbers in Stavanger and Bodø today.

Norway: All ready for the 2011 municipal and county council elections | Reuters

Municipal and county authorities throughout Norway have now completed their technical preparations and are ready for the elections to be held on 11 and 12 September. An extensive apparatus of IT systems, vote counting machines, technical equipment and election material is now in place at all the authorities across the country ready for the elections. This information comes from a review carried out by EDB ErgoGroup, which is a supplier of election systems for this year’s elections.

“Running the elections is a very big task for the country’s municipal and county authorities. As part of our deliveries, we have distributed around 3.1 million polling cards to eligible voters. Around 45 million ballot papers had been printed and distributed to local voting districts and party organisations”, explains Håvard Larsen, Head of the Solutions business area at EDB ErgoGroup.

In addition to deliveries from EDB ErgoGroup, a number of municipalities source some of their requirements through other channels. EDB ErgoGroup’s estimates indicate that the total number of polling cards distributed throughout Norway is in the order of 3.75 million, and that a total of as many as 60 million ballot papers are ready for use in the voting districts. EDB ErgoGroup has provided training for more than 1,500 election officials in municipalities throughout Norway.

Norway: Election expert team to follow internet voting in Norway | Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) deployed an election expert team to Norway on 27 June 2011 to follow a pilot project on new voting technologies (NVT) that was put in place for the forthcoming 12 September municipal elections.

Norway intends to use NVT in 10 municipalities, where voters will be able to vote remotely or via the Internet. Voters will also be given the option of voting using traditional ballots.