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Supo: Finland 'continually targeted' by foreign cyber espionage

Regarding other potential dangers, security agency Supo said that most significant terrorist threats were individuals and small groups from "right-wing or radical Islamist ideologies."

Entrance to Finnish Security and Intelligence Service's headquarters in Helsinki, file photo. Image: Mauri Ratilainen / AOP

Finland is a continuous target of state-sponsored cyber espionage, according to the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service's (Supo) National Security Overview, published on Monday.

The authors of the report said the security agency does not expect to see a decline in cyber espionage, 'even in the long term.'

Supo said the espionage was being carried out by authoritarian states to be used to back up their own policies as well as to influence policymakers in Finland. The cyber spies also target Finnish companies and educational institutions, according to the report.

Despite that the majority of cyber crimes committed are driven by financial motives, some threaten the country's national security.

The agency said that targeted extortion attempts on essential services — like water supply or health care infrastructure — also pose a threat to Finland.

Russia and China are watching

"Some Finnish business or branch of public administration is likely to fall victim to a ransomware attack. Data security must be managed throughout the subcontracting chain," Supo Director Antti Pelttari, said in a statement.

Finland is also the target of foreign espionage in the non-cyber world, with large-scale operations by countries like Russia and China expected to continue, Supo said.

Regarding other potential dangers, the security agency said that Finland's most significant terrorist threats were individuals and small groups from "right-wing or radical Islamist ideologies."

"Far-right terrorist attacks remain possible in Western countries, and even in Finland the possibility of such an attack cannot be ruled out. Supo has gained some indications of preparation for concrete actions," the report stated.

"[Islamic State] and al-Qaeda remain the most important radical Islamist terrorist organisations internationally. Though radical Islamist operators have interpreted the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan as a victory, these events have no immediate impact on the terrorism situation in Finland. The radical Islamist movement in Finland mainly focuses on support operations, though attacks also remain possible."