HELSINKI — Finland's Ministry of Defence (MoD) is reviewing its IT security infrastructure in the wake of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on its main website.

The attack was launched hours before Finnish President Sauli Niinistö met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 22 to discuss regional security issues and the implementation of deeper cooperation on border defense.

Initial investigations by the National Cyber Defense Center (NCDC) are examining the possibility that the cyber attack may have been launched from Russia to coincide with high-level, inter-government talks.

Similar DDoS attacks launched against public and private organizations in Sweden in March had traced the servers to Russia.

Niinistö met with US President Barack Obama in Washington on April 1. The meeting took place during the international Nuclear Security Summit hosted by the US president.

Finland's MoD confirmed that the sustained DDoS attack, which lasted more than three hours, was the second such cyber attack against its online IT infrastructure in 2016. The MoD responded by diverting traffic from its main site to a temporary site.

The previous DDoS attack took place Feb. 27 and lasted nearly five hours. Other key government department websites, including finance, social affairs and health, agriculture and forestry, and the Council of State office, were targeted in  simultaneous attacks.

The timing of the latest DDoS attack is significant, coming as Finnish and US governments finalize plans connected to joint military exercises in Finland.

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