Norway says cyber attack on parliament carried out from China

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Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide talks to the media outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs due the Norwegian government believing that Russia is behind a cyber attack on the Norwegian Parliament, in Oslo, Norway October 13, 2020. Orn E. Borgen/NTB/via REUTERS

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OSLO, July 19 (Reuters) - Norway said on Monday that a March 10 cyber attack on parliament's e-mail system was carried out from China, calling on authorities there to take steps to prevent such activities.

"The cyber attack in March compromised the e-mail systems of our most important democratic institution. We will always react to these types of intrusions," Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

An investigation by the country’s intelligence services had revealed the attack came from "actors operating out of China", the ministry said. "Several of our allies, the EU, and Microsoft have also confirmed this."

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"We have conveyed to China in a meeting with the Chinese Embassy today that this is unacceptable," Soereide told Reuters.

Norway's statement was part of a coordinated international response, with the United States and a coalition of allies on Monday accusing China's Ministry of State Security of a global cyber hacking campaign, specifically attributing it to a wider Microsoft attack disclosed earlier this year. read more

The attack had utilised a security hole in Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Exchange software. read more

"Today, alongside NATO, the EU, and several allies individually, Norway has sent a clear message to China that we assess that the cyber attack against the Storting (Norwegian parliament) came from within China, and that we expect Chinese authorities to do more to prevent malicious cyber activity emanating from Chinese territory," Soereide said.

The Chinese Embassy in Norway told Reuters that it has requested evidence for the claims from the Norwegian government.

"We are willing to cooperate with all relevant parties, based on facts and evidence, to jointly combat illegal activities in cyber space. At the same time, we strongly oppose baseless accusations and smears towards China and politicizing relevant issues," it said in an emailed statement.

The embassy also questioned whether the coordinated actions with other Western countries was a "collusively political manipulation".

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Reporting by Nora Buli; editing by Niklas Pollard, Nick Macfie and Jonathan Oatis

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