Church of Sweden hit by extortion cyber attack

Late last week, the Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan) experienced a nationwide cyber attack that severely affected its IT environment. However, it is still possible to contact staff by phone or email. Janne Lindberg, a communicator at the Church of Sweden in Skellefteå, also mentioned that they are using social media as a means of communication.

Cyber attack against the Church of Sweden. The network has been shut down.

Cyber attack against the Church of Sweden. The network has been shut down.

Foto: Oscar Söderman

Skellefteå2023-11-28 14:25

The entire network of the Church of Sweden was shut down for security reasons, both to minimize damage to the systems and to investigate what had happened. The shutdown was caused by an extortion virus, also called ransomware, reports the Church's newspaper.

- I can confirm that it is a ransomware attack and that demands have been received. For security reasons, I cannot give any details about what the demands are, but we will not meet them, says Pia Dahlén, head of communications at the church office, to the newspaper.

Ransomware is a so-called extortion virus that locks an IT system with demands for a ransom to unlock it again.

Among the digital services affected is the booking of baptisms and weddings, which is currently not possible. 

Have you reported what happened?

– It has been reported on a national level, both to the police and to the Swedish Data Protection Authority (Integritetsskyddsmyndigheten, IMY), he says.

– In general, there is a vulnerability in society, and it becomes apparent when the systems are down, but it's positive that we can still be reached by email and phone.

He also mentions that there are questions from citizens about what's wrong with the Church of Sweden's website, but that there is no overwhelming influx of inquiries.

Lindberg also says that they are providing information about the incident through their Facebook page, and that anyone who needs to contact a staff member can find contact information at: (the Church of Sweden's Skellefteå contact page).