The Nobel Foundation and Norwegian Nobel Institute revealed details of a cyberattack that occurred during the award show on December 10, 2021. The Nobel Prize is given annually to individuals whose contributions to physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature, and peace have been remarkable and regarded especially helpful to humanity. Because the Nobel Prize ceremony is live-streamed from Oslo and Stockholm, DDoS attacks might disrupt the video feed and perhaps tarnish the institution’s reputation.
As initially disclosed, the institution’s website was subjected to a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack, which seeks to overload a website with massive amounts of “garbage” traffic and fraudulent connection requests. As a result of this operation, the available server resources are depleted, and the website cannot handle real visitors, giving the impression that it has gone offline.
“The cyberattack subjected the websites to extremely high loads and was designed to try to prevent our ability to update and publish new information about the Nobel Prize and the achievements of the Nobel Laureates,” as per the official announcement. “The Nobel Foundation and the Norwegian Nobel Institute therefore regard this as a serious attack on the Nobel Prize and have reported it to the police in order to help generate awareness of this type of cyberattack.”
There is currently no information on who may be responsible for this incident. However, there are numerous possible suspects.
The Nobel Foundation has been regularly chastised for prejudice and favoritism, with accusations that it takes a biased attitude towards scientists from particular nations. For example, China, a country with 1.4 billion people, has won the prize just eight times, India 12 times, Japan 29 times, and Russia 32 times. On the other hand, Individuals from the US have received it 398 times, the UK 137 times, Germany 111 times, and France 70 times.
Furthermore, the Nobel Prize committee has been criticized for omitting researchers who made significant contributions to awarded studies or awarding relatively minor findings while ignoring groundbreaking discoveries. Given the political controversies surrounding some of the Nobel Prizes bestowed by the usually prestigious Nobel Foundation, the involvement of a state-backed actor in these attacks would not be unusual.