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Competitiveness / Science & Technology



Growth of industrial espionage and spying on Swedish strategic establishments

Monday, 14 January 2013
Industrial espionage and spying in Swedish strategic industries is said to be on the increase again. Swedish companies and research institutions are seeing increases in attempts to seek access to vital data by unauthorised people, using unconventional methods.

This is the impression given by the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment, FRA, which is the Swedish national authority for Signals Intelligence that supply intelligence to the Government, the Government Offices of Sweden, and the Swedish Armed Forces as well as other concerned authorities.

The organisation reports that it is above all, the high-tech areas such as defense, space, and aerospace industries, which are targets for industrial espionage agents. There are countries that are spying on Swedish strategic innovations and industrial secrets, according to Fredrik Wallin, who is spokesperson for FRA, according to radio Sweden.

"One want to access the information that one pick out from these information systems and it can be all in areas where we are technologically advanced in Sweden, such as defense, aerospace technology, pharmaceutical, food," said Fredrik Wallin to radio Sweden.

This is not about hacker groups who want to extract information they come across. It's about state-sponsored espionage against Swedish companies and research institutions.
Countries mentioned in this context are China, Russia and India who want to get access into trade secrets and decisions which may be important for a future trade deal in their advantage.

"Sweden has much that is interesting in the areas of high technology and the problem is that it possesses large values in the form of research, both from business and academias were a lot has been invested into such developments. In many cases, one would probably be unaware of this because it is not as apparent as when someone breaks into and steal things, but it can be just as serious in the long term. So in the long run, that will be eroding Sweden's competitiveness," Fredrik Wallin to radio Sweden.

The Swedish government has said that it now needs some kind of warning system that will enhance the protection of critical infrastructure from cyber attacks of these kinds of espionage.

FRA says that the cost of such a warning system would be around Skr25 million.
"The trend is clear," says Fredrik Wallin of  FRA, "attacks are more and more targeted," and he thinks that Sweden need more cooperation to combat this form of espionage.
By Team

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