Internet hackers steal confidential data on 60,000 Norwegians

August 10, 2007

Brisbane Times

Internet hackers have stolen confidential data on 60,000 Norwegians, including the head of the agency for safeguarding them, the agency itself revealed Friday.

It said they had used a weakness on the website of the telephone operators Tele2 to procure the national personal identity numbers and addresses of subscribers, amounting to 1.3 percent of the country's population.

The information would enable the hackers to change the addresses of the people concerned so as to intercept their mail, or order goods on their account.

The head of the data protection agency, Georg Apenes, was surprised to receive in the post a new chip for his mobile telephone from an operator to which he had not subscribed.

Agency official Gunnel Helmer said, "We hope that this time someone just wanted to highlight the ease with which identities can be stolen on the Internet.

"The weaknesses can be exploited of sites which try to be ever simpler to use, and automatically show up the memorised details of individuals to save having to type them out."

Tele2, which had been warned several times to make its website more secure, has promised to do so, while police are investigating.

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