Languages

Cyber spies targeting Norway

Norwegian subsea technology is one of the things cyber spies are trying to get information on.

Attacks on Norwegian industry and Norwegian interests in the High North have increased significantly during the last few years.

Location

According to the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), the Intelligence Service and the National Security Authority (NSM) the number of serious targeted espionage operationshas gone up from less than ten in 2007 to almost 50 in 2012.

The three institutions in February published their first joint threat evaluation, as BarentsObserver reported.

Cyber spies have three objectives when they direct their focus and their resources on Norway in general and Norwegian oil and gas in particular: The High North, business development and technology, and terrorism on oil and gas control systems, Lars Thoresen at the security company Secode says to Offshore.no.

The melting ice in the Arctic has created new needs for information for several countries. Some countries use their intelligence services to strengthen their future commercial, security and shipping opportunities. “In this area there is a great deal of espionage against Norway, and the Russians and Chinese are most active”, Thoresen says. “In many cases the criminals are backed by state assets.

Sensitive information on business development and new technology can be very valuable for criminals. Norway is world leading on subsea technology that Norwegian companies spend larges amounts on development of. Statoil is frequently exposed to targeted cyber-attacks from individuals and groups who are attempting to acquire information about the company’s strategies and technology. Norwegian scientists are particularly vulnerable to targeted cyber-attacks, including social manipulation.

Through his work in Secode, Lars Thoresen daily sees that Norwegian companies and interests are under attack from cyber criminals. But information about such attacks is hard to come by in media. “Everybody is exposed, but it is still taboo. Companies fear for their reputation. That is why such cases are solved in silence.