Industrial espionage directed against Swedish companies and research institutions is on the rise, according to intelligence officials, prompting new inter-agency intelligence coordination to protect national security.
The National Coordination against Serious IT Threats (Nationell samverkan till skydd mot allvarliga IT-hot, NSIT) involves the coordinated analysis of threats and vulnerabilities, as well as the development of protective measures to make it harder to gain unauthorized access targets vital to Sweden’s national interest.
The efforts, which involves Swedish security service Säpo, military intelligence agency MUST as well as Sweden’s National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets radioanstalt – FRA), focus on national security threats, rather than disruptive hacker attacks and fraud, the agencies said in a statement.
Increasingly, foreign powers like Russia, China, and India want to gain access to technical know-how and trade secrets from Swedish companies.
“They want to get at information in areas where we have technological expertise, such as the defence industry but also within aviation and space technology, pharmacology and food production,” FRA spokesman Fredrik Wallin told Sveriges Radio (SR).
“We lose a great deal of value when research results both from companies and universities are stolen. It has the potential to affect our competitive edge.”
The government has said it wants to develop an early warning system to protect against IT-attacks, according to SR.
The agencies explained that NSIT doesn’t involve any new powers, but rather increased coordination between Sweden’s intelligence agencies to “use their most specialized competencies” more effectively.