Iceland parliament spy operated unhindered for five weeks

A spying computer which was found hidden within Iceland’s Althingi parliament building had apparently been on-site for over five weeks, it has come to light. The story was only revealed recently, although the actual discovery was made on 2nd February last year.

It is assumed that the computer was hooked up to the Althingi main computer network and was scanning for, and then transmitting, sensitive documents. When the machine was discovered in a small side-office and disconnected, a program automatically ran and completely wiped the hard drive.

All identifying information, such as the serial number, had been painstakingly removed from the computer to avoid its being traced. There were also no fingerprints on it.

Now the president of Althingi has revealed that the computer was first connected on 28th December 2009 and was therefore in place for around five weeks. It is believed that the computer was installed to search out and send secret documents and files from the Icelandic parliament, Visir.is reports.

The police are now investigating the security breach, but are not expecting a fast or easy investigation.

Althingi’s technical department believes that, despite the long time, little sensitive information was found by the computer.

The timing of the attack would suggest that Wikileaks was behind it; but this has been strongly denied along with the protestation that Wikileaks was helping Althingi to develop the Iceland Modern Media Initiative at the time and had several high profile MPs backing its cause. Planting the computer would risk wrecking all the considerable trust the organisation had built up in Iceland — and for what?

Another suggestion is that a foreign government could be behind the computer or even an Icelandic MP. But at this stage, there is no way of knowing and both Althingi and police are extremely reluctant to point fingers.

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