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Swedish Public Health Agency Says Disease Database Targeted in Cyberattacks

The Swedish Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) is currently investigating several attempts to hack into SmiNet, a database that stores reports of infectious diseases, including COVID-19 cases.

SmiNet was shut down on Thursday, after the agency identified several attempts to gain unauthorized access to the database, but it was restored by Friday night.

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency announced that it had shut down the database to prevent hacking attempts, and immediately launched an investigation into the matter. The incident was also reported to the relevant authorities.

“Work is underway to investigate as quickly as possible whether anyone may have accessed sensitive personal data from the database, as well as sort out and rectify any deficiencies,” a translation of the agency’s announcement reads.

Initial evidence suggests that the attackers were not able to access any of the information contained within the database, but the investigation continues.

“It is still unclear whether unauthorized persons may have accessed sensitive information,” the agency said.

In a follow-up announcement on Saturday, the agency said it had brought the SmiNet database back online with some adjustments, which involve “certain restrictions on data reporting.”

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