Finland was hit with cyberattacks targeting government sites on Friday just as Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky was addressing Finnish Parliament. The Ukrainian leader has regularly been giving formal speeches before lawmaking bodies across the West and the world, making urgent please for additional military and humanitarian assistance to his besieged nation.
The attack impacted both the Ministry of Defense's website and the foreign ministry's site, the latter which later clarified that it was a denial-of-service attack, noting that the issue has since been resolved.
The defense ministry earlier issued an urgent tweet saying its website was experiencing and attack and would have to shutter until things were resolved.
The attacks are suspected as coming from Russia, also given reports that a Russian government aircraft may have breached Finnish airspace on Friday, according to Bloomberg.
According to details in Finnish media:
A Russian government fleet aircraft is suspected of violating Finnish airspace in the Gulf of Finland off Porvoo on Friday morning. According to the Ministry of Defense, the suspected airspace violation by a IL-96-300 lasted three minutes.
The ministry's communications office told Yle that this was the first violation of Finnish territory this year. The most recent previous violation of Finnish airspace by a Russian plane was in July 2020.
Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen subsequently stated on Twitter, "Our territorial surveillance capability is good and we detect all territorial violations and are able to respond to them effectively."
The reported cyberattack had happened as Zelensky addressed Finish lawmakers, condemning atrocities he alleged were intentionally carried out by Russian forces:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia for striking Kramatorsk Train station with a missile, as he addressed Finland's parliament on Friday.— Newsweek (@Newsweek) April 8, 2022
The latest: https://t.co/zwi3n6UAp1 pic.twitter.com/8uJZS8ZPCu
All of this is being taken as a 'message' from Moscow, also given reports this week that Finland is now mulling applying for NATO membership. Days ago Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin said, "Russia is not the neighbor we thought it was," and called Moscow’s ongoing assault on Ukraine a "flagrant violation".
A Friday report in Axios suggested that NATO applications from neutral countries Finland and Sweden could be 'imminent'.
The homepages of @DefenceFinland and @Ulkoministerio are down. Classic Russian cyber attack. As things would have it, attack timed with @ZelenskyyUa speech at Finnish Pariament. Expect more hybrid attacks as Finland prepares to apply for @NATO membership. #resilience— Alexander Stubb (@alexstubb) April 8, 2022
On Friday during the Ukrainian leader's virtual address, Finland's foreign ministry tweeted: "President Zelenskyy gave a historic address to the Parliament today," and added, "Finland firmly supports Ukraine in its efforts to defend freedom and democracy."