Den nya industrialiseringenNorrbotten

Säpo warns: Act fast to fight off spies in north

According to Säpo, Swedish technology and industry are attractive to Russia. Stock photo.
According to Säpo, Swedish technology and industry are attractive to Russia. Stock photo.

Sweden's domestic security agency, Säpo, has sounded an alarm over the north's industry becoming a target for foreign espionage. Karin Muntz, Säpo's press chief, has called upon companies to take measures to protect information that could weaken the nation's stance.

Norrbotten 15 augusti 2023 10:20
Säpo believes that China, Russia and Iran are conducting ongoing intelligence activities in Sweden.

The Swedish Security Service has assessed that threats against the nation's security are on the rise. In its annual report, Säpo highlights an increase in intelligence operations and security-threatening activities against Sweden, including the risk of spying on the military and industrial sectors.

Karin Lutz, a spokesperson for Säpo, remarked that Swedish industries could be a target for foreign powers. 

–The international climate and the war in Ukraine, coupled with sanctions aimed at Russia, mean that Russia has an increased need for technology acquisition to maintain its military capability. We know that Russian intelligence and security services are interested in Swedish technology and our industries, she explained.

Lutz named Russia, China, and Iran as the three most significant threats to Swedish security, stating that all three are already engaging in active intelligence activities within Sweden. 

Industrial companies in various industries are targets for espionage. These servers are in Facebook's hall in Luleå and have no direct connection with the article.

–Technology acquisition is becoming increasingly crucial for Russia, as well as for China and Iran. All three are engaged in technology procurement, and there is a daily covert collection of technology and knowledge. Of these three, Russia is the single biggest threat to Swedish security, Lutz asserted.

Security expert Johan Wiktorin, co-founder of the security analysis company Intil, stated recently that there is a high likelihood that major industrial companies investing in the north are already being targeted for industrial espionage attempts.

Lutz did not want to single out any specific companies or industries as being targets for industrial espionage but acknowledged that large industrial investments could generally attract attention from hostile actors.

– When significant investments occur, it can naturally be of interest to foreign powers. It is vital that companies conduct security analyses and protect secrets so that information that could harm Sweden does not fall into the wrong hands, she warned.

China is one of the countries that Säpo identifies as active in industrial espionage.

Lutz is now urging businesses in northern Sweden to review their security measures, stressing that this is a requirement under the Security Protection Act.

– If one has technology that could harm Sweden and that could be developed into military technology, it's important to work with personnel security. One must review who has access to the information and if there are vulnerabilities. This applies to both Swedish and foreign staff. Companies and authorities have a responsibility under security protection legislation to conduct a security protection analysis to see if they have adequate protection, she concluded.

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