Foreign intelligence increasingly interested in Finland’s critical infrastructure
The interest by foreign intelligence actors in investments made in Finland’s critical infrastructure and other strategic fields has grown in the last few years, as reported in the national security review of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo). The review was published on 5th December 2019.
Dozens of foreign intelligence officers are permanently stationed in Finland. Furthermore, it is assessed that approximately the same number of foreign intelligence officers carry out short-term operational assignments in Finland every year. Finland is of interest especially for Russian and Chinese intelligence services.
Typical features of foreign intelligence services’ activity in Finland are long duration and planning.
Intelligence-gathering themes concerning topical phenomena vary, but primary intelligence aims include forecasting Finland’s policies in various fields and influencing political decisions.
"Intelligence services have some permanent topics they follow. In addition to those, primary topics of interest have recently been, among others, Finland’s actions as EU Presidency, Finland’s position in EU’s sanctions policy, national innovation activity, and high technology products", says Supo Director Antti Pelttari.
Besides human intelligence, Finland is continuously targeted by cyber operations for the purposes of state-run espionage, mapping the technical environment or exerting influence. In addition to public administration, targets have also included key R&D information of companies and confidential communications of individuals.
Critical infrastructure ending up in the control of a state conducting active cyberespionage or cyber influencing constitutes a threat to national security already before the spying state decides to act.
"This should be taken into account proactively in projects concerning critical infrastructure, such as investing in the 5G network", Director Pelttari says.
The national security review also deals with Finland’s terrorism situation and hybrid influencing.