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China, Russia found prominent security threats in Norwegian Threat Assessment for 2022

Oslo [Norway], February 25 (ANI): China and Russia are the two most prominent security threats, particularly targeting Norwegian cyber networks, stealing military technology/strategic acquisitions as well as promoting anti-government forces and influence operations in the country, a recent report on public threat and risk assessment for 2022 said.

Norwegian Intelligence/Police Security Service & National Security Authority has presented their public threat and risk assessment for 2022 and highlighted that their national security interests were being challenged both directly and indirectly across all sectors and areas of society.

In a statement, it was noted that as a small state, Norway was in an exposed position, and that its competitive industrial sector and business expertise were of interest to others.

The Chinese and Russian intelligence actors were particularly interested to penetrate into the areas in which Norway’s technology was highly advanced apart from information pertaining to policy making and emergency preparedness.

Regarding Beijing’s intelligence operations, it was viewed that Chinese cyber operations were increasingly focusing on political issues in Norway as Beijing’s interest was growing in European foreign and trade policies. There were also efforts to identify anti-China Norwegian politicians and activists.

It was apprehended that Chinese influence networks could affect Norway’s freedom of action and undermine the country’s ability to deal with crises. The risk of Chinese proliferation into Norwegian business environment, impairing its competitiveness of business and industry was also underlined.

Blaming China and Russia for cyber attacks on the Norwegian Parliament in 2020 and 2021, the Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM) underscored the recent increase in serious cyber incidents targeted at public and private sector undertakings in the country. These were apparently aimed at stealing data from companies and research groups in the fields of defence, health and maritime technology, petroleum and space sector. Norwegian Foreign Service was also being targeted and this assumed importance due to Oslo’s membership of the UN Security Council as well.

The threat assessment acknowledged that actors working on behalf of Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies were spreading disinformation, which exposes Norwegians to global disinformation campaigns including conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report further stated that ‘although Chinese intelligence services were sophisticated and technically advanced; they often made use of civilians with access to information. These people exploit their positions voluntarily or under duress’.

Identifying the challenges in tackling Chinese intelligence activity it was noted that ‘according to Chinese law, any Chinese citizen or business can be ordered to cooperate with the country’s intelligence apparatus. This means that actors whose intentions are initially legitimate can be ordered to obtain information’.

The report underscored that ‘China is characterized by its lack of distinction between the private sector, state and the party’. In such a circumstance, it was exceptionally challenging to distinguish between purely commercial actors and actors being exploited for intelligence purposes.

Norway is not alone in suspecting involvement of Chinese intelligence agencies’ penetration into their cyber space, data system and civil society. Chinese activities and influence strategies in intelligence are well documented in Western countries. FBI Director Christopher Wray warned (January 31) that the Chinese government’s ruthless hunger for economic superiority and desire to influence American politics makes it a threat to the US national security. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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