Trust Tales: A Cyber Attack Against Denmark Should Have Consequenses

By Nicolai Fast Sørensen

This interview is part of the series called Trust Tales. Extracts from the IWDK20 magazine, that’s valuable perspectives in the ongoing debate in the technological field.

This time it’s the Danish Minister of Defence, Trine Bramsen who back in March shared her thoughts on the subject of cyberattacks. Enjoy.

 

Denmark is one of the most digitalized countries in the world.

Digitalization and technological development is necessary for our ability to compete globally, for our ability to secure our welfare in the future, and for our ability to live up to our green ambitions.

A high degree of digitalization is an advantage to us all. Danes are used to handling many different digital solutions and platforms in their everyday life. We shop, bank, work, and network online. During the Corona crisis, where many have been working from home this has become even more important. In the future, we will do even more things online. But digital solutions also give rise to concerns.

A recent study by the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), concludes that Danes today fear cyber attacks more than any other threat. And I understand the concerns.

Digitalization makes us vulnerable to cyber-attacks and our high dependency on digital solutions means that much is at stake. The fear of cyber attacks is not irrational. The cyber threat is very real. We have seen over and over again
how criminal hackers and foreign states exploit the vulnerabilities that exist in our systems. Danish companies and authorities are subject to cyber-attacks daily. Citizens have their private information, such as passwords and banking information stolen.

Hackers steal information from large and small companies who risk losing their most critical data. And, for some companies, attacks have severe economic consequences and threaten their very existence. The severe cyberattacks against the Danish companies Maersk and Demant are sad examples of this. And during events like the Corona crisis there is a need to be even more vigilant. Foreign states have the capacity to launch destructive cyber attacks against us.

We have already seen such attacks in other countries, most recently in Georgia where several thousand public and private websites were out of function due to a large cyber attack. Destructive cyber-attacks can happen in Denmark, too. And criminals use every opportunity they get. Our fundamental values are under attack. Social networks are misused to influence our feelings and opinions. Fake stories are planted, designed to divide our open society.

This is an attack on our democracy and it has negative consequences for our trust and feeling of security.”

As Denmark’s minister of defense I cannot accept that cyberspace is becoming a new ‘wild west.’ The norms and rules that apply in the physical world must apply in cyberspace as well.

And those who break them should be punished. Denmark must have an efficient cyber defense, but this is not a task that anyone organization can lift alone. Our cyber defense will only be efficient if we all contribute, private and public sectors alike, citizens and authorities together.

I invite authorities, companies and citizens to join the dialogue about how Denmark gets the best possible cyber defense to protect us in a hopefully strong and secure digital future. All Danish citizens should be able to live without fear and insecurity – also in cyberspace.

 

Read more extracts from the Magazine here