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Intelligence

Norwegian Intelligence Service Boss Blames Russia for Digital Attacks

Sputnik News

20211227
Igor Kuznetsov

In response, the Russian embassy called the spying allegations "a set of worn-out clichés", stressing that in recent years, only one example of espionage between Norway and Russia has been proven in court, and the person in question had Norwegian citizenship.

The chief of Norway's Intelligence Service, Nils Andreas Stensønes, has identified a "persistently high" level of intelligence threats against the country, claiming that Russia alongside China pose the greatest threats.

Stensønes claimed that while China is also active in the digital space, Russia has the most specific interests. Above all, Russia is interested in Norwegian foreign policy, security policy and technological know-how, he claimed.

"Norwegian companies in the maritime industry and underwater technology are also very exposed to espionage," Stensønes told national broadcaster NRK.

According to Stensønes, despite the fact that Norway and other nations have "called out" Russia's attacks, the data breaches haven't stopped. He further claimed that there hasn't been any change in pattern or intensity.

Stensønes said companies that possess special and inaccessible technology are most sought after by foreign hackers, he added.

"It is a continuous competition. Between how they develop their intelligence capabilities, and the nation's ability to protect its systems," Stensønes mused.

In response, the Russian Embassy in Norway rejected the allegations.

"The aforementioned accusations are not surprising, but given the lack concrete facts and are just a set of worn-out clichés. The reality is that in the relationship between Russia and Norway in recent years, only one example of espionage has been proven in court. And the person in question had Norwegian citizenship", the embassy told NRK, citing the case of Frode Berg, a retired border inspector and champion of friendly bilateral relationships. He subsequently claimed being "set up" by Norwegian security services and even received a compensation from the government, which was interpreted as a tacit acknowledgement.

The Russian embassy urged responsible agencies in Norway to stop making "unfounded public statements" and instead use official channels for information exchange.

In August of 2020, the Norwegian parliament was exposed to a major IT attack, as the MPs' emails were broken into for data. For the first time, Norway went public with the details, as then-Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide accused Russia, which vehemently denied the allegations.

Norwegian-Russian relations, which date back hundreds of years and have mostly entailed peaceful and fruitful friendship, have in recent years come under strain due to military build-ups, fighter jet interceptions, reciprocal spying accusations, and an overall harsher tone, undermining the nations' decades-long partnership.

© Sputnik



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