Internet security ‘not good enough’

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Norway’s National Security Authority NSM (Nasjonal sikkerhetsmyndighet) released a report on Tuesday warning that neither government agencies nor companies are well enough secured against cyber attacks and industrial espionage via the Internet. NSM stressed that individuals working within both public and private sector entities are now the biggest targets of online crime.

The report, which was being presented at an NSM security conference on Tuesday, comes just days after Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor reported a serious case of industrial espionage to the police. The attack targeted the personal computers of top Telenor executives and reportedly was carried out through attachments sent to them via e-mail from seemingly trusted contacts.

Individual employees at risk
NSM’s report confirms that individual employees targeted by data criminals and spies are at risk for unwittingly spreading viruses or having their machines infected by programs that take control of the machines and empty them of sensitive information that’s then sent to external addresses.

“Norway and Norwegian interests are the targets of unwanted and illegal espionage on a daily basis,” NSM’s report warns. The threats are increasing in terms of their amounts and scope, “especially in regard to industrial espionage,” according to the report.

Security efforts within both the private and public sector haven’t been developed to a degree enabling them to fend off the “steadily more complex” threats, NSM wrote.

State and commercial websites also at risk
The state authorities noted that several processes are underway to reduce online vulnerability in Norway, but more efforts are needed. NSM believes it is “important to strengthen competence regarding preventive security measures,” and called for more resources “to strengthen national ability to handle serious incidents involving information technology” and increase reports of incidents that threaten national security.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Tuesday, meanwhile, that 619 Norwegian websites spread data viruses last year that spy on, steal from or monitor unwitting Internet users. The number of cases identified by NSM quadrupled during the past year.

Websites belonging to banks and media outlets were among the most common targets but NSM wouldn’t identify them. The companies themselves generally don’t report data crime either, for fear of losing confidence among their customers. It was considered unusual for Telenor to go public with its case of industrial espionage over the weekend.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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