STOCKHOLM Hackers shut down the website of Sweden's central bank on Wednesday and targeted two other official sites after activist group Anonymous was reported to have threatened it would launch a cyber attack in support of Internet file sharers.
Several websites in Sweden have come under attack this week and crashed. The main method used was a distributed denial of service attack, where a website's host computers are bombarded with requests for information, making them crash.
Fredrik Andersson, a spokesman for the central bank, said the bank's website was being targeted in just such an attack.
"Our IT people are working to solve the problem. The attack is on the external website of the bank, none of the bank's other functions are affected," he said.
Parliament's website was also down and was replaced by a notice which said it was suffering operating problems. The government's website was working most of the time, with only the occasional stop.
Newspaper Expressen said hacker group Anonymous had previously issued a threat on a chat group on the Internet to take down the central bank website.
On the chat group, 4chan, users provided a link to a picture which urged people to attack the central bank's website after the authorities this week raided an Internet service provider as part of a campaign to close down file sharing websites.
The picture did not name which websites the authorities had wanted to target.
Sweden was the original home to Pirate Bay, the world's biggest file sharing website.
Its four Swedish founders have all been convicted of illegal file sharing but the website has continued to operate. The organisation is now registered in the Seychelles.
Anonymous has in the past also targeted official websites of countries such as Britain and Sweden to show support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
(Reporting by Patrick Lannin; Editing by Andrew Osborn)