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Supo in 2017: Cyber attacks have become commonplace in Finland as well

Publication date 21.3.2018 9.00 | Published in English on 13.10.2020 at 16.25
Press release

Finnish enterprises are of interest to foreign intelligence services. In 2017, Supo became aware of several state-backed cyber attacks against Finnish companies.

Foreign states wish to steal from data networks information concerning Finland’s critical infrastructure and Finnish product development, for example. This is apparent from Supo’s yearbook 2017 which is published today.

- Cyberespionage poses a serious threat to the Finnish information capital. If product development data is stolen to another country, it is possible that the company loses its whole future, says Supo Director Antti Pelttari.

Countering threats is harder than before because the enterprises outsource the management of data. There are also gaps in the authorities’ capability to counter cyber attacks.

- We have no access to the data networks, so our capability to detect cyberespionage is completely inadequate. Intelligence legislation would deliver an improvement to this, says Pelttari.

Traditional espionage still active

In addition to cyberespionage, traditional espionage also remained active. Foreign intelligence services try to recruit Finns to provide them with information that is not publicly available. Especially Russian intelligence organisations are active in Finland.

Foreign intelligence organisations still take interest especially in the Finnish foreign and security policy. In 2017, they were also interested in the ongoing process of drafting new intelligence legislation, cyber security infrastructure, and measures for combating the information operations.

Number of security clearance investigations increasing

The total number of security clearance investigations conducted by Supo in 2017 was over 61,000. Due to the rapidly changing security environment, new facilities and businesses requiring security clearance vetting are constantly included in Supo security clearance vetting procedures. Most security clearance investigations are conducted for state authorities.

The vetting seldom discloses adverse information. Information that needs to be notified to the employer comes out in just 2 per cent of cases. Supo never takes stand on the recruitment but the decision is always made by the employer.

Confidence in Supo unprecedentedly high

Supo carries out yearly a survey concerning the views of the citizens on Supo’s activity. This time, 89 % of the respondents told their confidence in Supo is high or rather high. That is the highest figure since the survey was first conducted.

Further information

Supo communications team, tel. +358 504 026 981, [email protected]