Must count on cyber attacks during NATO exercise

Prime Minister Erna SolbergPrime Minister Erna Solberg.Photo: Ned Alley / NTB scanpix

“We must expect Russia or others to test us with fake news or cyber attacks during the autumn NATO exercise” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Høyre (H).


The Armed Forces, the Police Security Service and the National Security Authority are among those who have already set up mechanisms to handle cyber attacks and fake news as 40,000 soldiers gather to practice in Norway from the 25th of October to November the 7th.

“We can expect to be tested during the exercise with cyber attacks,hybrid events and fake news. And Norway must become more aware of how others finance and play,” said Solberg to NTB news.

Demanding awareness

The Prime Minister said Norway is “quite well equipped”,but believes that awareness must be further increased.

“We see from other countries that actors try to build ethnic conflicts,play on right-wing extremism, Islamic extremism or other things that can create imbalances in a society. Not only the Russians, but also IS in their areas” said Solberg.

Norway can not count on being shielded – especially when NATO’s biggest exercise for 16 years takes place on Norwegian soil.

“As a liberal society that wishes to have freedom of speech and openness, we must also have an understanding that some will use that openness to make us more vulnerable.It’s demanding and it actually requires more public conversation about what’s going on’’ said the prime minister.

Critical attitude

NATO’s military leader in Europe, US General Curtis Scaparrotti,expects Russia to try to spread false information about NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise.

In an interview with VG newspaper recently, he gave examples from other exercises in Eastern Europe.

“It was fake information about the purpose of the exercises,questioning the soldiers’ discipline, and the safety of the population” said Scaparrotti, who urged people to be critical of what they see and hear.

Strengthened preparedness

Communications chief, Knut Grandhagen of cyber defence,stated that the Armed Forces have strengthened preparedness based on risk and vulnerability analyses from the E-service and the Police Security Service.

“It is about our ability to to react. It’s about discovering and analysing things, our ability to respond to what might emerge, and ability to come up with alternative solutions’’ he told NTB news.

The E-Service, PST, NSM, Defence Security Department, Cyber Defence,and NATO want close collaboration and continuously exchange information with each other.

“The world’s eyes are going to be on Norway during Trident Juncture,both good and bad.There is clearly an increased risk of intelligence attacks during the exercise. It is reasonable to expect that someone has an interest in following up on what we are doing. We must take action to deal with it ” said Grandhagen.

Other hazards

During a lecture at a conference in Oslo this week, Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen (H) said that new technologies both provide increased opportunities and increased security challenges.

‘’Previously we had land, sea and air domains. Now we also have cyber, space and the electromagnetic spectrum.The real challenge and possibility is that in addition to being domains in themselves, these also affect the traditional domains” said Bakke-Jensen.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today