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Finland launches information resilience unit

National stockpile agency NESA says it wants to make it easier to detect influence campaigns.

Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Finland's National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) on Wednesday said it was piloting a Knowledge Centre on Information Resilience.

The centre will work on tools for detecting inauthentic influence campaigns—efforts to systematically and adversely influence people's minds.

"Developing information security means managing information-related threats and risks," Antti Sillanpää, a manager at NESA, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Sillanpää said that the media, citizens and authorities need systems and tools for distinguishing inauthentic influence campaigns and assessing the reliability of information.

On a practical level, Sillanpää said this would involve the development of tools for detecting coordinated influence campaigns across social media platforms as well as in the comments sections of online news outlets.

Last month the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) said that state-sponsored cyberattacks constantly pose threats to Finland and that the country is often targeted by China and Russia.

Sillanpää, however, told Yle News that influence campaigns can also come from non-state actors.

"Isis groups in Europe are one example of this," he explained, adding that plans for the new knowledge centre have been in the works for several years.

The centre will launch activities this autumn and continue through a pilot phase until the end of 2024. NESA said its initial aim was to create operating models and gather information and best practices.

The agency said the pilot will determine the centre's future physical location and funding.