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Finland a "valedictorian in a class of dummies" in cyber security

Finnish expertise in cyber security is trusted worldwide, and the country aims to open up a hub aimed at curbing cyber warfare threats this year.

Kyberhyökkäysharjoitus Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakoulussa.
Image: Matti Myller / Yle

Cyber security rose to the top of the list in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) recent threat assessment. The WEF names massive information breaches, data fraud and theft as particular risks.

”Cybercriminals aiming to gain maximum profit out of unsuspecting victims using data theft, Trojan horses and credit card fraud are the biggest single threat online,” says F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hyppönen.

Finnish expertise in cyber security is trusted worldwide. Finland aims to open up a hub aimed at curbing cyber warfare threats this year. The centre will be located in Helsinki and will feature cooperation by the USA, EU members Germany, Spain, the UK, Sweden, Poland and the Baltic States.

”This centre is an excellent opportunity for Finland,” says Aalto university’s professor of cyber security Jarno Limnéll.

States are attacked regularly

The centre cannot come at a better time. Attempted cyber attacks towards governments happen daily. For example, the malicious computer worm Stuxnet caused significant damage to Iran’s nuclear program.

”In Finland, we’ve seen Russian influence online and attempted Chinese cyber attacks. Even democratic, Western nations have their own malware,” Hyppönen says.

Cyber security has become such an integral part of a functioning society; even the Finnish Defence Force has increased its cyber security team significantly.

”Our society and economy have become dependent of digital systems, which alone poses completely new threats and risks,” says Limnéll.

Finland good, but not great

Limnéll says it’s about time Finland focused on sorting out the bare cyber security essentials. The country still has a lot to do despite being one of the safest countries online in the world. 

”Just because we’re doing fine does not mean there isn’t a lot more to do. We’re the valedictorian in a class full of dummies,” he says.

Limnéll emphasises that in an information society like Finland, every single citizen must know how to stay safe online.

F-Secure’s Hyppönen suggests backing up everything as many times as necessary.

”Even our memories are stored digitally,” he says.

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